With the outbreak of COVID-19 in Hubei, China, and its attendance scare, followed by the WHO declaration of the disease as a global Public Health Emergency on 30th January, 2020, the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health, has put its Agencies, Health Care Facilities, Ministries and other relevant Authorities involved in Public Health Emergency Management on high alert.
Taking the lead, as an apex health authority, the Federal Ministry of Health, under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has called for a Ministerial/Multi Sectoral Preparedness and Response Meeting, held at the Ministry’s Headquarters on 2/2/2020.
The meeting was basically to acquaint attendees with matters arising as regards the outbreak of the Convid-19 in China, its status as a global
threat and set up a Committee to plan and come up with strategies for the prevention of importation of the Virus into Nigeria.
Members of the Committee, drawn from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministries of Information and Culture, Aviation, Finance, Immigration, Customs, FAAN, Interior, Transport, NEMA, USAID, US-CDC, Agriculture, amongst others, were expected to put in place an action plan for joint response in the event that importation does occur, to ensure its containment.
This effort by the Federal Government is to ensure coordinated response if a case should be identified in the country.
So far, the Port Health Services Division of the Federal Ministry of Health, being the Public Health Authority at all points of entry has heightened surveillance activities at the five International Airports of Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Centre for Disease control (NCDC), in addition to its other activities, has also promptly activated it’s Convid-19 preparedness group and incident command in case of any occurrence.
The Minister of Health has called on persons returning from China to self- isolate themselves for 14 days and thereafter call on NCDC on 07032864444 if they develop symptoms.
He also enjoined all State Governors through the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to scale up their emergency management capacity in preparedness for the existing threat.
Other efforts by the Federal Government include sensitization on television and intimate the public on steps taken to prevent the importation of the Virus while assuring them of Government’s capacity to test and handle the disease in case of its importation.
To this end, the Minister has also resolved to hold weekly press briefings in order to keep the public properly informed on latest developments regarding the disease even at the global level.
Head, Media and Public Relations FMOH