‘Inadequate infrastructure, manpower shortage bane of COVID-19 containment’
The Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) has declared that national response to the coronavirus pandemic has been challenged by inadequate infrastructure, manpower shortage and global shortage of essential items.
It explained that essential test kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs) and a strained economy, which had compelled the need for balance between lives and livelihoods, especially as there is no known cure for the virus, were also a huge challenge.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, noted that with reliance on data and science, the country was considering crossing the threshold of experiments into global cure for the pandemic.
He disclosed that the Federal Government would include dexamethasone for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the country, adding, “There is a medicine we will ask our clinicians to try.
“It is a steroid used generally for other purposes, but has been found useful. I don’t want people to start running around looking for it, because these are not medicines they should be using, it is a medicine that doctors use.”
Chairman of PTF and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, urged local researchers and scientists to submit to the validation processes, insisting that every treatment regime should be supported by scientific evidence.
He pointed out coronavirus was the greatest public health emergency that had threatened humanity in modern history, adding that Nigeria accounted for 17,735 and 469 deaths.
Mustapha said the PTF had consistently pursued a national response underpinned by science, data and global experience that prioritised local peculiarities, adding, “As we push research at domestic and international levels, the debate about which drugs will be clinically suitable also continues.”
He noted that the greatest challenges in the national response were human resistance to change, stigmatisation, mental health, skepticism, culture, religious beliefs and rising incidents of domestic violence, among others.
“The main focus presently is community engagement and risk communication, while not neglecting the need to obey all the guidelines and non-pharmaceutical measures.
“Government’s relaxed lockdown should not be interpreted to mean otherwise. This is further underscored by reported resurgence of a second wave in China and the United States of America (USA) and this should put us on alert, knowing that the virus can only be eliminated if we agree to play our part.
“This becomes more pertinent, as we enter the rainy season that brings cold, catarrh and other COVID-19 mimicking illnesses. Our call to take personal responsibility cannot be more strident than now.
“Let us create awareness and sensitisation, stop stigmatisation of survivors and encourage fellow citizens who have contracted the virus to enable them to overcome the disease,” he stressed.