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COVID-19 deaths reducing amid disturbing cases, says minister

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The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, yesterday said there had been a “general reduction in mortality trend and continued improvement in recoveries as shown in discharges (of COVID-19 patients) compared to the increase in number of confirmed cases.”

Making the disclosure at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 yesterday in Abuja, the erstwhile Lagos State House of Assembly speaker said government was concerned about the increasing number of confirmed cases because “very high cases could seriously exceed the capacity of our health system to cope. Routine cases may also suffer as a result.”

He observed that while most of those who died were associated with comorbidities, “we find out that three out of four of those who have been discharged were without comorbidities. This is consistent with the fact that risks are higher for those with other illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic non- communicable diseases.”

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The minister added: “Therefore non-pharmaceutical preventive approach is still our best strategy. At present, we have a total of 112 treatment and isolation centres in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with 5,324 beds. While only five states, including the FCT, have at least 300 beds as prescribed for isolation and treatment, 21 others have less than 100 bed spaces.​

“As the number of confirmed cases increases, there is an urgent need to expand our treatment centres across the country. I therefore call on the state governors and philanthropists to take active and deliberate steps to scale up the number of beds for isolation and treatment of confirmed cases in their states.”

Mamora noted that there were global efforts to find a cure for the disease, adding that Nigeria had received a few proposals for local remedies that had been forwarded to relevant agencies for evaluation.
He stated that while the most populous black nation was anxious to find a cure for the ailment, the Federal Government would not compromise the health of any Nigerian.

“We are not prepared to do trial and error with the health of our people. Whatever is approved for use in Nigeria must meet the required standard as determined by the relevant agencies,” he submitted.

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According to him, “for a preparation to be approved for use in Nigeria, it must be subjected to safety, toxicological and efficacy tests as well as clinical trials.”

The minister went on: Last week, I led the Federal Ministry of Health team to a virtual meeting with traditional, complementary and alternative medicine practitioners to discuss and explore opportunities for local solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting provided an opportunity for the practitioners to understand the procedures for validating medicines for use in the country. We were also able to find common grounds for collaboration. Government will support every genuine effort aimed at finding a local solution to the pandemic.”

He pointed out that the trado-medicine stakeholders still had registration issues with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) as well as others revolving around intellectual property rights and funding.

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