The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, on Thursday, lamented that the country is experiencing a steady rise in maternal and child mortality as a result of disrupted essential services, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the PTF in Abuja, the National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, regretted that access to healthcare by people with other illnesses have suffered and declined due to fear of COVID-19.
He pointed out that there is also a serious decline in people accessing care simply because of fear in getting infected by COVID-19.
Dr Aliyu also declared that life-saving maternal, newborn and child health service, routine vaccinations, access to care for chronic conditions such as HIV and other treatments are not being delivered in our hospitals.
He emphasised that people needed to be able to access care, adding, “we have been observing a steady rise in maternal and child mortality as a result of disrupted essential services.”
Speaking on the Impact of COVID-19 on our health services, both in terms of the quality and access to care, the PTF National Coordinator said: “As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world has engaged in an unprecedented response against this virus and against the disease.
“However, as a result of this, we are seeing a situation where other health conditions are suffering. Health services are not concentrating on other health conditions. If anything, the emergence of COVID-19 has led to the detriment in terms of care for other essential health services. And these have negative impacts including reduction in health services that could arise from a disruption in medical supply team, availability of human and financial resources. And also a decline in people accessing care simply because of fear in getting infected by COVID-19.
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“We also see reduced in access to healthcare for medical diagnosis of other conditions and for the most vulnerable population like children, and the elderly and those with underline illnesses such as diabetes.
“If you have a fever today in Nigeria, it is far more than it has to do with malaria due to COVID infection. And people need to be able to access care. We have been observing a steady rise in maternal and child mortality as a result of disrupted essential services.
“We have also seen life-saving maternal, newborn and child health service, routine vaccinations, access to care for chronic conditions such as HIV and other treatments not being delivered in our hospitals.”
Meanwhile, the Director-General of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said Asymptomatic patients will now be discharged from treatment Centre without undergoing other rounds of tests to confirm their status if negative of COVID-19.
He said: “If you are Asymptomatic you can be discharged 14 days after your first positive test, so we no longer have to wait for a negative test to discharge. You can be discharged 14 days after your first positive, with confidence that you can go home and you are no longer infected, you are not a risk to people; you are not putting your family, your friends or anyone else at risk if you are Asymptomatic.”
He also added: “One of the changes that have happened is in discharge criteria, the two critical groups of patients are Symptomatic patient and Asymptomatic patient. So for Symptomatic patients, they may now be discharged 10 days after symptom onset, at least 10 days after onset and at least three days without symptoms. So, if you are symptomatic you can be discharged if you have three days without symptom in addition to at least 10 days of symptom. Of course, if your symptom lasts for a long time we will wait for longer while managing you supportively.”