The federal government said Wednesday that private healthcare facilities that have the capacity to manage the Novel Coronavirus must seek government’s certification.
This was disclosed by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, during the daily press briefing in Abuja.
He said all the current emergency isolation and treatment centres in the country were subjected to scrutiny and certification before they became operational.
“The expansions of the infrastructure for treatment is important. However, private hospitals that have capacity to manage COVID-19 cases shall seek certification by the Committee of Infectious Disease Experts assembled by the Federal Ministry of Health for standardization and safety of frontline staff and other patients.
“It may interest you to know that all emergency isolation and treatment centres established by the PTF have also undergone this process in view of the danger posed by this infectious disease,” he said.
On the restriction order on movements in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun states, the SGF said President Muhammadu Buhari would be advised on the next steps to be taken to contain the spread of the Coronavirus disease in the country.
He said the activities of the Task Force would continue to be guided by transparency and accountability.
He said the Task Force, in conjunction with the Accountant-General of the Federation, had published the accounts into which donations towards the anti-COVID-19 efforts would be paid.
“Today is the 10th day of lockdown of Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory. As expected, we will continue to evaluate the impact of the restriction order on the spread of the virus and level of compliance.
“The President will be appropriately advised within the coming days on the next step to take. Again, I feel compelled to underscore the importance of collaboration with the PTF by Nigerians.
“Our compliance with the directives and orders given is in the best interest of humanity and to save lives. I am pleased to inform you that the PTF working in collaboration with the Accountant General of the Federation have concluded and published details of accounts into which donations by well-meaning members of the society and corporate organizations can be channeled. “I must emphasise that transparency and accountability shall remain the hallmark of all transactions under COVID-19 activities. Within the coming days, Nigeria shall be receiving equipment and other technical support through the United Nations System, as well as other donors. You will be adequately briefed when such deliveries are made,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of State for Health Mr Olorunimbe Mamora said Nigeria has so far recorded 254 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“Lagos remains the epicentre with 130, with 50 cases in FCT, 20 in Osun, 11 in Edo, 11 in Oyo, 6 in Bauchi, 5 each in Akwa Ibom and Kaduna, 4 in Ogun, 2 each in Enugu, Ekiti, Kwara and Rivers, and 1 each in Benue, Delta, Katsina and Ondo. The spike in Osun is linked to the arrival of Nigerias to that State from Ecowas countries. Several groups of Nigerians have made similar intentions known to return.
“Those discharged from treatment are 44 of which 7 are from the UATH center. We unfortunately have 6 corona related fatalities in total. There are presently 204 active cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The DG of NCDC will give further details.
“We have 9 laboratories for testing as at today for COVID-19, to be augmented over time by other laboratories in the public and private sector,” he said.The minister appealed state governments to emulate Lagos state that currently has enhanced preparedness and response in the state.
“We are sure other governors shall prepare in the same way, with infection control compliant isolation centres and aggressive community surveillance,” he said.
The minister also commended health workers for their commitment, hard work and sacrifice in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has drastically changed the pace and style of life in commemoration of World Health Day which is observed on April 7 each year.
He said: “Through training, provision of guidelines and personal protective equipment, we continue to enhance the understanding and capacity of our frontline workers for this novel disease.
“I urge all health workers to apply infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols always and maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19.
“The resources on NCDC COVID-19 website covid19.ncdc.gov.ng, including national case definition guidelines, are being constantly updated. To health workers I say, “Your well-being is a priority to us, and we cannot thank you enough for the work that you do in protecting the health of Nigerians.”
“I want to strongly advise citizens against giving false information of symptoms or travel history to healthcare workers, when seeking care, at this critical time. Doing so puts the health of health professionals at risk of infection and also deprives them of comprehensive information to properly diagnose and manage illnesses.
“Those who tested positive for COVID-19 must report to designated treatment centre for safe isolation and care, even if they feel well, because the danger of this disease is that those who do not have any symptoms are still as infectious as those with symptoms and need to be isolated, for the sake of their families, friends and the public.
“Health facilities, both public and private, are called upon not to reject patients without giving them advisory on what to do, but to follow NCDC guidelines and refer suspect cases to COVID-19 test sites. In all cases essential health service is to be rendered, including emergencies, since the arrival of coronavirus does not mean disappearance of other diseases.
“Additionally, all Health facilities are reminded that coronavirus is an extremely dangerous pathogen, which spreads very easily. It is not advisable to accept persons suspected of such infection for treatment if the facility is not so accredited, but to offer them a referral to test centers or accredited treatment centers. Health workers and other patients and visitors will otherwise be put at great risk.
“We are engaging the Association of Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria and the Guild of Medical Directors to adequately engage their members accordingly.
“Unauthorized management of this disease and compromise of medical ethics can aggravate this public health emergency at community level and place national security in jeopardy. In this respect, I wish it to be known that there is enough bed space in our accredited hospitals to handle the present number of positive cases in Nigeria and also that the FMoH is upgrading its capacity to transfer diagnosed COVID-19 to treatment at accredited centers.
“The health sector must not lose the gains we have made in the last few years as we combat COVID-19, but continue support to our health workers at all levels.
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“I must highlight the generosity of individuals, groups, corporate Organizations, public and private, who have made donations and offered support in various ways to the national response. Donors include Health sector associations like the Pharmaceutical Association of Nigeria, JOHESU and both Nigerian and foreign businesses, civil society organisations, bilateral and multi-lateral partners and foreign governments.”