ABUJA, Nigeria, June 22, 2020 — The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire made it an early morning assignment after his appearance on Channels TV programme, to lead the Federal Ministry of Health’s Team to inspect the 063 Nigeria Air Force COVID-19 Observation, Treatment Centre located at a side of the 063 NAF Hospital along the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Road, Abuja.
The facility is about 25-Bed COVID-19 Observation and Treatment Centre with a Small Operation Theatre (when that becomes necessary) and Sections to treat serious symptomatic COVID-19 cases, observation and treatment of mild and asymptomatic cases.
Dr. Ehanire who was invited to inspect and possible direct on further things necessary for the centre to be accredited, charged the 063 NAF COVID-19 Observation, Treatment Centre said with COVID-19, not much was known about it initially. “But, we proceed by learning. Several treatment drugs have been touted and trials reveal that many of them have not proved useful. A new one has come up now, we know it, we know its side effect, it is not something you buy off the shelf, you have to be extremely careful in its dispensing and uses. It’s only a Doctor that should prescribe it prescribe the exact dosage.”
The Minister further charged that “You may consider that based on Health Team’s management of cases of COVID-19, majority of our patients do well with oxygen supplementation because “the ventilators have not come in so useful”. He gave examples of “Lagos where we’ve seen out of every 400 cases, only 4 requires ventilators. So the percentage of those who require ventilators are not as high as what we feared in the beginning. A large number of persons will require oxygen supplementation. So, we are advising investing in oxygen generators now as you invest also in ventilators, but don’t put all your hopes in ventilators.” “I understand that the Air Force has an Oxygen Plant in Yola, so you can supply yourself generously with oxygen.” Dr. Ehanire expressed gratitude to NAF who gave FMOH 30 Cylinders of Oxygen which have been deployed to the General Hospital, Asokoro, Abuja; but when NAF said they have more to give, he requested for some supplies to Lagos Mainland Hospital.
The Honourable Minister having expressed satisfaction with what he saw at the 063 NAF Observation and Treatment Centre, Abuja directed the Accreditation Team to proceed with other things necessary and to note the facility to be added to the nation’s assets along with the Defence Reference Laboratory at Mogadishu Cantonment along Nyanya Road also in Abuja. The Lab, the Minister was told has already handled more than 560 samples.
On the future of national response to any health emergency post-COVID-19, Dr. Ehanire disclosed that even before COVID-19, his Ministry has been working on a national response that bring together a national emergency management response system. This, he said is already built into the National Health Act whereby 5% of Basic Healthcare Provision Fund will form the seed money for medical emergency response. We realise that the private sector up to 60 – 70% of health services is delivered by the private sector, so we know that the private sector has to be included in this response system. We have a committee already working on this and it is headed by somebody from the private sector and the armed forces are members.