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COVID-19: FG yet to carry out tests in 85 LGAs in 20 states- Mustapha

...Says disbursement of Healthcare Provision Fund has commenced

Federal government on Monday revealed that it is yet to commence the Coronavirus tests in 85 local government Areas in 20 states of the country, about seven months after the first Italian index case was reported on the 26th of February, 2020. The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus response, PTF COVID-19, Boss Mustapha revealed this at the regular briefings in Abuja on Monday.

Mustapha said the 85 LGAs still remain with no testing done and therefore, no case reported from them so far. Mustapha however said ” five (5) states of the federation still account for 60% of cumulative cases; 689 out of 774 LGAs have reported a case; while 50% of all cases are in 20 LGAs ”

The PTF said Nigeria, with 46,577 confirmed cases and 945 cumulative deaths, remains respectively the third and fourth highest in Africa based on these parameters.

President Muhammadu Buhari had last week extended the current protocols on ease of lockdown for the next four weeks. Mustapha who noted that Nigeria is yet to reach the peak of the pandemic, warned that the low test/ case confirmation numbers coming out daily should not be misinterpreted to mean that we have overcome.

” We have over time ramped up testing but more needs to be done to raise the quantum of test per million. Our analysis has however shown that”

The PTF announced Key sectors that it will be watching in addition to general level of compliance are the education and transportation sectors.

This followed the reopening of Schools for preparations for critical examinations, for which PTF issued guidelines. Mustapha also the PTF, he said will continue to follow the developments in railway and air transportation respectively.

” Nigerians and sector stakeholders are admonished to ensure compliance with the various non-pharmaceutical measures already in place. The PTF and the Federal Ministry of Aviation are working rapidly towards reopening of the international flights.

” The PTF will also be looking closely at the issue of Risk Communication and Community Engagement. Messaging and consultations shall be intensified to drive the level of awareness and compliance to the wider population using mediums and platforms that are most effective generally and specifically”

Ehanire Osagie, Minister of Health in his remark said the guidelines for the administration, disbursement and monitoring of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) which was suspended in January has been revised adding that the process of disbursement of fund has now started, right on time to support much needed State efforts in their COVID-19 response.

According to the Minister, the new BHCPF has much better country ownership structure and offers a much improved benefit package and more robust fiduciary control for transparency and accountability.

“National Council on Health (NCH), which is the highest policy making body on matters relating to health in Nigeria has revised guidelines for the administration, disbursement and monitoring of the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHCPF) which was suspended in January, to correct anomalies in the 2018 Operations Manual”.

“Development Partners are invited to support the new revitalization Plan in whatever manner they desire. We have made preparation to accommodate the varying programs and interests of Partners. The Ministry of Health is available to discuss and address the concerns and wishes of potential donors”.

He noted that continuity of normal health services, capacity building of health workers and their protection with PPEs, are the most critical activities which should be secured.

“Resilient health systems ensure BHCPF services continue to reach PHC health facilities, (both public and private), and referral cases to Secondary health facilities. It is critical in our present COVID 19 pandemic challenge, to use the opportunity to strengthen our Health systems. I also call on State, LG authorities and healthcare workers to ensure that the most rational and judicious use is made of all commodities”.

According to the Minister, the National Council on Health also approved the establishment of the National Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System (NEMSAS), to pool the assets of public and private sector ambulances and hospitals, to raise funds to augment government seed money, and to work with States to provide emergency medical care and patient transportation to all citizens whenever and wherever it is required and irrespective of immediate or potential ability to pay.

He stressed that it will be possible to considerably reduce COVID-19 mortality, including also maternal, child mortality, and post-crash mortality with a functional Emergency Medical Service and Ambulance System that can rely on the combined assets of private and public sectors.

“Half of all cases in Nigeria so far are concentrated in 20 Local Government areas, which could offer the attractive option of targeted attention, to focus on case finding, Isolation and treatment”.

“The figures show that Nigeria is also sadly approaching the symbolic 1,000 number of fatalities, a grim reality that should be a wake-up call for us”.

The main covid19 symptoms include breathlessness, which responds well to oxygen supplementation as first measure.

The Minister said that efforts are ongoing to install oxygen generators, Solar powered aggregates in health facilities including general hospitals and lager primary health care centres.

“We are turning our preferences therefore to gadgets that provide oxygen, like oxygen generators to be in many facilities, including General hospitals and larger PHCs. Solar powered aggregates, where available, will be prioritized. Federal Health Institutions with oxygen plants should activate them as a matter of priority and ensure they can deliver to their A & E Dept”.

“The other measure is the activation of Ambulance service to move patients to treatment centers. This strategy worked well in Kano and all States should prepare to set up the system. The Federal Ministry of Health will provide guidance, support and training”.

The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmoud, in his remarks, said decontamination of all exam centers have been done in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja.

He also urged parents to help ensure that children obey the social distancing rule, wearing of face mask and handwashing. The minister also noted that the next excercise will come when the conventional school open nation wide.

 

 

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