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Nigeria targets less than one per cent COVID-19 deaths

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Infected women can breastfeed, say WHO, UNICEF
•UK scientists out with kits to confirm virus in 60 minutes

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has revealed plans to reduce COVID-19 mortalities to less than one per cent.

With just over two per cent deaths, he said government had embraced non-pharmaceutical intervention in controlling new infections as the economic space opens up.

He made the disclosure yesterday during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja.

The minister said the measures were cheap and effective, urging the citizens to stick all times to the existing safety protocols.

Also, in commemoration of the ongoing 2020 World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) lasting from August 1 to 8, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have said female patients could breastfeed if they so wish.

They stressed that all women have rights to a positive childbirth experience whether infected by COVID-19 or unwell to breastfeed.

The two global agencies submitted that any woman that falls in any of the categories could be supported to safely provide her baby with breast milk in other ways.

UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, and WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in their joint message, called on governments to protect and promote women’s access to skilled breastfeeding counsel.

They said improving access to professional guidance could promote exclusive breastfeeding with its concomitant benefits for babies, families and economies.

“Indeed, analysis indicates that increasing rates of exclusive breastfeeding could save the lives of 820,000 children every year, generating $302 billion in additional income,” the two health chiefs stated.

The theme for this year’s event is, “Supporting breastfeeding for a healthier planet.”

According to them, breast milk saves children and provides antibodies that fight early illnesses.

Consequently, UNICEF called on relevant agencies to ensure strict adherence to the National Regulation on the Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes and the relevant World Health Assembly (WHA) resolutions by putting a stop to the unwholesome marketing of the products, just as it urged civil society organisations against accepting such donations in whatever guise.

UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, observed that the COVID-19 pandemic, like most emergencies, has put families and children in an “extremely vulnerable position.”

In a related development, scientists in the United Kingdom have developed on-the-spot tests that take just an hour to confirm coronarivus cases as schools and air travels resume.

The experts observed that the kits could be used anywhere, allowing rapid screening of care homes, offices and airports.

The innovation analyses nose swabs and could magnify any active virus particle, as there is no need for a fixed lab or medic for the results to be out in 60 to 90 minutes.

According to the report published by The Sun UK, about 450,000 of the LamPORE swabs, supplied by Oxford Nanopore, would be available across care homes and hospitals from next week.

Another UK-made rapid COVID test, in use at eight London hospitals, is also being rolled out.

In total, more than eight million checks will be available to the British Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace over the next year.

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, said of LamPORE: “It is the best of its kind anywhere in the world. It can be distributed, is relatively fast and doesn’t cost the earth.”


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