The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire on Friday, 3rd April 2020, announced, during the Presidential Task Force Media Briefing , that an 18 man team of Chinese medical experts are expected to arrive Nigeria within a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies ,to augment the government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. As of April 6th 2020 the Minister said that, Nigeria had recorded 232 positive cases of the disease, discharged 33 and recorded 5 deaths. He stated that, “We have 120 patients in Lagos State, 47 in FCT, Osun 20, Oyo 9, Edo 9, Bauchi 6, Akwa Ibom 5, Kaduna 5, Ogun 4, Enugu 2, Ekiti 2, while Ondo , Rivers and Benue have 1 each”.
Dr Ehanire informed that, COVID-19 cases are continuously detected and treated to recovery through enhanced surveillance systems and strengthened epidemic intelligence. He added also that 5,000 samples had been tested so far, as targeted approaches are been taken to scale up the capacity.
The Minister revealed that, two additional Laboratories had been activated for COVID-19 testing at the Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT and Biosafety Level -3 Laboratory Lagos. He stated also that a Joint Continental Strategy for COVID -19 responses had been developed and an African Task Force on Coronavirus (AFCOR) had been set up, to coordinate preparedness and response efforts in the continent, this in collaboration with African Union.
He assured also that Rapid Response Teams will be deployed to all affected states to support them in strengthening their preparedness and response to COVID-19.
According to Health Minister, Dr Ehanire, the donations by the group of Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes PPEs and other Medical consumables, with one million surgical masks for health workers and also ICU ventilators valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items. In addition, Chinese medical experts, comprising of doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real life experience of fighting covid-19 with Nigerian personnel in strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care, he said. He explained that this initiative would greatly build the capacity of hard working and resourceful Nigerian health workers at the fore front of fighting coronavirus. He said, the much needed PPEs and masks will protect these frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty.
The Honorable Minister expressed that, “We have a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learnt from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands- on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices”