Health Ministry to use all available resources to avoid spread of COVID-19

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The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, flanked by the Honourable Minister of State, Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora

The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has assured that the Health Ministry will use all resources made available by Federal Government to avoid the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Nigeria.

The Minister gave this assurance today in Abuja, during a Ministerial Press Briefing to give update on the outbreak of Covid-19 in China and the first confirmed case of the disease recorded in Nigeria.

According to the Minister, the first confirmed case of the virus reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020, was a case of an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan-Italy, to Lagos Nigeria, on February 25, 2020.

He was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. The Patient was reported to be clinically stable, with no serious symptoms and is being managed at the infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.

Dr. Ehanire maintained that the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Health has been strengthening measures to ensure that any outbreak in Nigeria is controlled and contained quickly.

He stated that the Multi-sectorial Coronavirus Preparedness Group led by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has immediately activated its National Emergency Operations Centre and would work closely with Lagos State Health authorities to respond to that case and implement firm control measures.

The Minister informed that the Ministry and other stakeholders have already started working to identify all the contacts of the patient, since he entered Nigeria.

He further explained that most people who become affected might experience only mild illness and recover easily, while it could be more severe in others, particularly the elderly and persons with other underlying chronic illness.

He therefore advised all Nigerians, to take care of their health and maintain hand and respiratory hygiene to protect themselves and others, including their own families, following the under listed precautions:

Regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer; Maintain at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing; Persons with persistent cough or sneezing should stay at home or keep a social distance, but not mix in crowd; Cover your mouth and nose with handkerchief or tissue or into your sleeve at the bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; Stay at home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Please call NCDC toll free number, which is available day and night, for guidance: 08009700000-0010. Do not engage in self-medication.

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19 through official Channels on TV and Radio, including the Lagos State Ministry of Health, NCDC and Federal Ministry of Health.

The Minister also assured all Nigerians that Federal Ministry of Health has been beefing up preparedness capabilities since the confirmation of cases in China and “we will use all the resources made available by the government to respond to this case” He emphasized.

The Country Representative, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Clement Peter, commended Federal Government of Nigeria for the level of preparedness to contain the outbreak of Coronavirus (covid-19) in Nigeria. He stated that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is the best in Africa based on its antecedents and response to the current Covid-19 outbreak.

He pledged that WHO would continue to collaborate with Nigeria to ensure that COVID-19 which a case in the Country has just been confirmed would be handled carefully to avoid it spread adding that the Organisation would continue to offer technical support to the Nigeria health sector.

Enefaa Bob-Manuel
Head (Media & Public Relations)