We can’t conclude that we are flatting the curve — Health Minister
By Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha on Monday, praised Africa countries and Nigeria in particular, for what he described as ‘tremendous efforts’ made so far towards flatting the curve of coronavirus infections in the region.
However, the Minister of Health, Dr Ehanire Osagie said Nigeria cannot conclude that it has flattened the curve as there are gaps in sample collections and testing in many states of the federation.
Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Federal Government while addressing journalists during COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, added that the continuous reduction in the daily confirmed cases of coronavirus since 20th of July 2020 was a welcome development.
He said: “Statistically, we are flatting the curve in the Africa region as available data shows that since the 20th of July the daily confirmed cases and fatality keep reducing. This is a welcome development as more than 1 million people have so far recovered from the virus.
He, however, expressed worry over the serious impact of COVID-19 on people with Non-Communicable diseases, NCDs.
According to him, available evidence has shown that Nigerians and Africans living with non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, HIV among others are more likely to suffer severely from COVID-19 or even die from the virus.
“So prompt diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases are important. So people with non-communicable diseases need support and we, therefore, urge our medical personnel not to neglect patients on account of COVID-19.
“We need to improve on our commitment to eliminate the virus and return to our normal lives. Already, our national response is achieving impressive results which have been commended by our development partners.
“The contribution of our health workers cannot be overemphasis in our gain so far, so we commend Association of Residence Doctors for suspending their strike while calling on JOHESU to suspend their strike so that the country will not slide backward in the gain made so far.
Mustapha cautioned states that have announced the reopening of schools to take proper measures so as to avoid resurgence.
“We reiterate the need for more vigilant, the fear of resurgence should put us on alert.”
Speaking, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire regretted that despite the fact that some gains were made in the fight against COVID-19, the country was still faced with some challenges.
“Many states have not sustained testing rate, sample collections are still poor in some states which are likely to be the reason for a low number of daily confirmed cases recorded.
“In the last 24 hours, the 79 cases we recorded are from 13 states of the country which means that about 20 states didn’t send reports. So we can’t conclude that we are flatting the curve.
Ehanire, however, appealed to state governments not to relent in sample collections, testing, and management, adding that, that was why the federal government is advocating for testing sample collections at each local government area across the country.
“Our primary concern presently is to limit the importation of the virus into the country; our health sector should not be overwhelmed with the imported cases as we battle the outbreak in the country.
“People should comply with non-pharmaceutical prescriptions such as wearing of face mask, social distance, and frequent handwashing among others,” he added.