As the COVID-19 pandemic increases and progresses to community transmission level in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) and other organs of Government are continuously seeking measures to check or break transmission and so control the spread, with tried, tested and also innovative measures and guidelines. Our ideal is still to identify all positive cases and isolate both the symptomatic and asymptomatic, to safeguard the health of the rest of the population as well as provide care to the symptomatic. This includes our efforts at intensively building the expertise of critical care doctors and nurses, to utilize ventilators and other appliances being allocated to Intensivecare hospitals, nationwide. The sustainability of the strategy may be challenged as time goes on by the evolving realities across the country. The Federal Ministry of Health is continuously monitoring and reviewing the situation and responding with the dispatch of teams of experts to provide technical support to high burden areas or States grappling with epidemic control issues.
The FMoH holds daily situational analysis via teleconference with Directors of the Ministry of Health, Medical Directors of Federal Hospitals and members of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee and other relevant stakeholders, such as NPHCDA, NCDC, NAFDAC in attendance. This enables real time reporting on incidents in the field and immediate solution or mitigating steps. The Ministerial Response Action Plan of the Federal Ministry of Health is ready next week.
i. The Ministerial Technical Team deployed to Kano State by FMoH to support the State in handling the ravaging community spread and providing direction in managing the COVID-19 situation has gained very significant community acceptance and is now generating a pool of trained and updated health workers, including over 100 ambulance drivers and patient handlers. The Ambulance service is now running smoothly and rendering invaluable service to support Kano citizens in the face of the lockdown.
ii. A ministerial technical team comprising of various specialists, was set up and deployed to Katsina State to assess the situation and provide, and also report on needed support. They will be rebuilding public confidence in the health system and creating awareness about the reality of covid19, as well as encouraging health workers, who will be trained and retrained to show more commitment. They will also ensure health workers are well protected by providing working materials and PPEs.
iii. Calm has been restored in Gombe state Isolation centres.
iv. FMOH this morning deployed a multi-sectoral technical team on a fact finding mission to Jigawa State at the request of the State Executive Governor. The challenges in Jigawa revolve around repatriated Almajiris, of whom many have tested positive for covid19. The team includes doctors and nurses, who will support the State Ministry of Health in setting up and accrediting their Isolation and treatment centers.
v. The Ministry of Health team sent to Kogi State has returned to Abuja, without mission accomplishment. New efforts will be made to engage Kogi authorities for resolution of differences. A team will visit Bornu State for the same purpose in due course.
vi. State Commissioners of Health will be engaged on a continuous basis to monitor readiness and preparedness, and address matters arising.
I shall conclude by reminding our diligent Health care workers and all citizens of the usual advisory; but also that with the increasing figures, we are approaching a difficult area in our COVID-19 response, which we all can still influenceby adhering more strictly to all the safety, infection prevention and non pharmaceutical injunctions that have been repeatedly given here.
Thank you for your attention.