Apart from the global efforts to find a cure or vaccine for COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world since November 2019, Nigeria is making efforts to find local remedy for the treatment and cure of Coronavirus.
The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Momora disclosed this during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Press Briefing of Wednesday, 27th May, 2020. He stated that the Federal Government has received few proposals for local remedies for the disease and these have been forwarded to the relevant agencies for evaluation.
Dr. Mamora recalled that last week, the Federal Ministry of Health’s team held a virtual meeting with Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioners (TCAM), to discuss and explore opportunities for local solutions to the COVID-19 Pandemic. “The meeting provided an opportunity for the practitioners to understand the procedures for validating medicines for use in the country.” He assured TCAM that Government would support every genuine efforts aimed at finding solutions to the pandemic.
The Minister said that Government’s response strategy is based on trace, test isolate and treat. “Today I shall focus on our isolation and treatment strategies. As at this morning, we have recorded a total of 8,344 confirmed cases in 34 states and FCT out of which 2,385 have been successfully treated and discharged. Unfortunately we have recorded 249 deaths. While most of those who die are associated with co-morbidities, we find that 3 out of 4 of those who have been discharged were without co-morbidities”, the minister disclosed.
He further stated that there is general reduction in mortality trend and continuous improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges compared to the increase in number of confirmed cases, though he said he is not surprised about the increasing number of confirmed cases because very high cases could seriously exceed the capacity of our health system to cope.
Continuing, Dr. Mamora said that at present, Nigeria has a total of 112 treatment and isolation centers in all the 36 States and FCT with 5,324 beds, while only five states including the FCT have at least 300 beds as prescribed for isolation and treatment; 21 States have less than 100 bed spaces. He informed that as the number of confirmed cases increases, there is an urgent need to expand our treatment centers across the country. The Minister therefore called on the State Governors and philanthropists to take active and deliberate steps to scale up the number of beds for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases in their States.
Mamora said Nigeria is preparing to move into the next phase of the response, including the easing of the lockdown, having conducted a high level technical session on strategic outputs of Mid-Action Review (MAR) and identified priority activities for the next phase of the response, adding that Government has commenced development of sector specific advisories on re-opening, while training of health workers on case management is ongoing in more States.
Dr. Mamora stated that the Federal Government is anxious to find a cure for COVID-19, but would not compromise the health of any Nigerian to do trial and error. Whatever is approved for use in Nigeria must meet the required standard as determined by the relevant agencies.
He advised against crowding up as this increases the risk of transmission. “Prevention is still the best approach to containing the virus”, the Minister stated.
Signed by Brendam Nwokike (Assistant Chief Information Officer)
For: Director, Information, Media & P.R., FMoH.