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National summit against COVID-19, prevents fourth wave

Health authorities in Nigeria are collaborating to host a national summit on COVID-19 to highlight the continued challenge of the pandemic and how to tackle it

Sir: Health authorities in Nigeria are collaborating to host a national summit on COVID-19 to highlight the continued challenge of the pandemic and how to tackle it amid fears of a fourth wave globally.

Chairman of the Presidential Steering Committee, PSC, on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said the summit to evaluate the national response efforts and strengthen global health security will hold for three days, December 6-8, 2021 in Abuja. Specifically, the forum is expected to provide a platform for participants to reflect on the challenges, missed opportunities and find a way forward in building a sustainable health promotion, health safety and health security system for the country.

The summit theme is: “Review, reposition and push through the last mile to end COVID-19 pandemic and build back better resilient health system.” Official statistics state that Nigeria recorded 213,000 confirmed cases of COVID. Of these, 205,000 made a full recovery, while 2,960 Nigerians – parents, siblings, close relatives, colleagues and neighbours died. It translates to a case fatality rate of 1.39 per cent.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire disclosed that Nigeria had tested 3.9 million (3, 392, 457) persons, of which 213, 147 were confirmed positive for COVID-19. Active cases are 4,447 and patients discharged to date are 205,732. Most patients (67 per cent) on admission in isolation wards have co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other non-communicable diseases, which are known determinants of the severity of COVID-19 illness.

Indeed, Dr Muhammed has stressed that COVID-19 is not over and warned that a possible fourth wave could happen. “We must make sure that we improve our level of vaccination, and it begins at the individual level, household level, and the community. We, therefore, urge Nigerians to take these seriously. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to prevent it from happening, and science has shown that people who are vaccinated are highly unlikely to come down with a severe disease or even to die from the disease.

“We need to improve on our observation of the social measures. Even if we are vaccinated, we still need to continue to observe the social distance measures and continue to wear our face masks,” Muhammed warned.

Nigeria has commenced a mass vaccination drive for citizens while a Vaccine Mandate for federal civil servants begins from December 1, 2021.

According to Ehanire, “The vaccines we use are trusted. All citizens should drop their hesitancy and take the vaccines. It is now commonplace in many foreign countries that citizens need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, cinemas, night clubs and even to board aircraft on international flights. This trend is intensifying worldwide and will, no doubt, begin to take root in Nigeria in due course. I will not be surprised if Nigerian domestic airlines start to demand vaccination cards before boarding.”

He disclosed that no fewer than 5,985,049 persons have been vaccinated with the first dose, while 3,336,866 have received a second dose of coronavirus vaccines. The country is targeting 111,776,503 people to achieve herd immunity.

Tajudeen Kareem.