To forestall the practice of self mediation among Nigerians, The federal government yesterday pleaded with COVID-19 survivors to stop giving details of the drugs used for their treatment.
The Chairman, Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Mr. Boss Mustapha, made the plea at a press briefing in Abuja, following recent video testimonies of some high profile survivors, talking about the drugs administered on them at the treatment centres.
On the same day, 288 fresh COVID-19 cases were confirmed nationwide, taking the tally to 5445, with 171 deaths and 1320 discharged.
Also, it was disclosed that nine local governments alone accounted for 51 per cent of national infections of the Coronavirus, and that five states were participating in WHO- coordinated solidarity drug trial, as fresh strategy is being worked out to address community transmission in states like Lagos and Kano.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, expressed concern that some of the testimonies disclosing the prescription for treatment of the virus could encourage patients to indulge in self-medication instead of seeking help from health authorities.
He urged all Nigerians that have symptoms of COVID-19 to test for the virus and if positive, go into the isolation centres for care by experts.
“The PTF congratulates and appreciates the testimonies of Nigerians who have recovered from COVID-19, which has given us more insights and further strengthens the need to adhere strictly to guidelines issued. However, an emerging issue from all these testimonies is the issue of prescription for treatments. We should always remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 mimic some illnesses we already know but treating the symptoms is not the same as treating the virus. For this reason, we strongly discourage self-medication,” Mustapha said.
He also said that five states in Nigeria were currently participating in the on-going World Health Organization (WHO)-coordinated solidarity trial to find a cure for the pandemic, saying that at the end of this trial, relevant health authorities would make statements on acceptable drugs for treating COVID-19.
Mustapha also raised the alarm that 51 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 cases are concentrated in nine local government areas across the country. However, he did not name them.
He said the affected nine local government areas were all densely populated, indicating that the crowded communities were at the risk of spreading the virus.
“Let me say that our preliminary analysis has narrowed down the over 51 per cent of the total number of infected persons to nine Local Government Areas across the country and all of them are densely populated.
This indicates that a critical element of our taming this pandemic is to reduce opportunities for large gathering, sustaining the ban on inter-state movement, the nationwide curfew and complying with the measures prescribed- wash your hands as frequently as necessary; use hand sanitisers; maintain social distancing, use a face mask or covering in public places,” he said.
Mustapha also stated the opposition of the federal government to reports that some state governors were lifting restrictions on large congregation of people.
He warned that while President Muhammadu Buhari had encouraged state governments to adapt national guidelines that are suitable to their state, such adaptation should be informed by empirical evidence of progress made.
The PTF chairman warned the governors that lifting restrictions on large congregation of people had consequences and was an opportunity for more seeding of the virus thereby negating gains already made.
Ehanire: Fresh Strategy to Address Community Transmission Coming
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said the federal government was developing a new strategy that would help in addressing community transmission of COVID-19, especially in high density areas like Lagos and Kano.
The minister, who spoke yesterday at the media briefing by the Presidential Taskforce on Control of covid19 in Abuja, said when implemented, the new strategy could go a long way in addressing many looming challenges.
Ehanire said: “A strategy document of National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is being developed and repurposed for application in Kano; but also in similar high density, high burden metropoles like Lagos to respond more specifically to the challenges of COVID-19 tracing, tracking, testing, isolation and treatment in congested communities.”
He said the situation in Kano State had largely stabilised, “thanks to the good relationship between the visiting federal task team and Kano State Task force on COVID-19.”
Ehanire said that the high number of new cases recorded in Kano state was an indication that all laboratories in Kano were now functioning and clearing backlog of samples, with over 350 new tests done daily.
Ehanire, however, regretted that the yet to be explained deaths that occurred in Kano and a few other states in the northern part of the country may be linked to low hospital attendance due to Covid19 scare.
The minister said another team from the Federal Ministry of Health had been assembled to proceed to Sokoto and Borno states on fact finding mission and to engage with state authorities to determine their material and technical needs.
He also said that part of the mission in Kano was to assist state pathologists and scientists unravel the mysteries around unexplained deaths in the state.
According to the minister, the tools for forensic investigation have been jointly developed for a uniform approach and balanced results.
Also, Ehanire said the ministry was able to persuade Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe, a woman who earlier refused to take COVID-19 test, to allow her blood sample to be taken to the NCDC laboratory for testing yesterday.
He said the result was being awaited and that any time from now the result would be given to her in person.
From left: Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Secretary to the Federal Government ; Mr. Boss Mustapha, Sadiya Umar Farouq; Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, during the press briefing by the Presidential Committee on #COVID19Nigeria.