COVID-19: FG Partners with WAHO to Transport Supplies – Minister

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The Federal government is set to partner with the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) on a cost-sharing plan for common air transportation of COVID-19 supplies of WAHO and Nigeria from Beijing to Abuja.

Dr Ehanire Osagie, Minister of Health, disclosed this on Thursday at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19.

Ehanire said that the ECOWAS COVID-19 Ministerial Coordination Committee on Health, which included Finance and Transport, among others, was set up to facilitate the work of the ECOWAS COVID-19 response.

READ ALSO:Vaccines Group Raises $8.8b For Immunisation Plans For Poor Countries

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the virtual meeting was hosted by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) and attended by 15 ECOWAS Ministers of Health or their representatives.

Ehanire, who chaired the committee, said the body shall continue to engage the community, religious and traditional leaders for sustained messaging to citizens, on the importance of adhering to health advisories, to combat community spread.

The minister noted that the daily epidemic curve of confirmed cases has shown a consistently rising trajectory with a corresponding increase in fatalities.

He, however, explained that the increase in cases was due to improving testing capacity and of activities of other response pillars, including surveillance and community mobilisation.

Others are coordination, contact tracing, improved awareness, the demographics and other factors.

“Nigeria currently has a total of 11,166 confirmed COVID-19 cases in 35 States and FCT, of which 3,329 have been treated successfully and discharged, while we have sadly recorded 315 deaths.

“Support to states will be tailored to the challenges and strengths of State health systems.

“The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is discussing options and guidelines of supervised out-of-hospital isolation and care with some States.

“This is either home-based care or based in communal space, like school dormitories, since schools are presently closed down.

“As we continue to engage states on scaling up sample collection and testing capacity all over Nigeria, we also continue to urge healthcare workers to ensure they are properly protected with the appropriate PPE and have a high index of suspicion when treating patients,” he said.

The minister, while speaking on the test lists, especially antibody-based test kits, said to be in use in Nigeria, only four of the kits have been evaluated by the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria and all four failed the validation tests.

“No antigen test kits have yet been evaluated. This means that results obtained from these tests are not tenable for diagnostics, being deficient in sensitivity and specificity and are likely to give false results and mislead people.

“The NCDC certified laboratories in Nigeria use WHO recognized PCR testing methods which give a reliable result. Though expensive, this option is right and we have 30 laboratories deployed, with the aim of establishing at least one laboratory in every state,” he said.

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