FG converts all govt hospitals in FCT to COVID-19 sample collection centre

• Says it's unacceptable to allow many people to die after rejection in hospitals

The Federal Government has converted all the government hospitals in FCT, Abuja, to COVID-19 COVID-19 sample collection sites, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said on Thursday at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

This, according to the minister is one of the measures put in place to address the situation whereby very sick persons are being rejected at hospitals, which has caused the death of many Nigerians.

The minister regretted the death of many Nigerians, who died outside the hospital or on their way after being rejected in one or more hospitals, describing this development as unacceptable.

He said: “Over the last few days, I have also received reports of very sick persons being rejected at our hospitals. Many have died outside or on the way, having been denied attention in more than one hospital. It is not acceptable that persons lose their lives to health conditions which could possibly have been cured, or may not even have been COVID related.

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“It is to address this subject that, the Hon Minister of FCT and I had a meeting today with the Medical Directors of both Federal and FCT government hospitals in the FCT catchment area, where it was emphasised that no patient be denied treatment or rejected and that all health workers will be trained and retrained on Infection Prevention and control and issued PPEs and materials required for discharge of their duties.

“In addition to this, all government hospitals in FCT will become COVID-19 sample collection sites, so that walk-in cases can have samples taken to be forwarded to NCDC for testing. This assures users and caregivers of reduced bottlenecks and improved efficiency in our response. We intend to scale this up to other states of the Federation.”

The minister pointed out that COVID-19 statistics are expected to rise further with improved testing, but also as a sign that COVID-19 is actually expanding faster than our systems are handing it.

He said the Ministry of Health’s plan will focus more on minimising fatalities by prioritising preemptive admission to hospital for medical observation, all persons who test positive for COVID-19 and meet their definition of vulnerability, even if they do not yet have classical symptoms.

Ehanire stated that the number of COVID-19 positive cases is increasing dramatically in the country, but also globally, as news reports show; adding that “our strategy uses the statistics to calibrate response, but also address the concerns of citizens.”

He, however, emphasised that” as we begin the four weeks of extension of the second phase of easing the lockdown as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, it is important that to review the strategy and assess the effectiveness of measures so far in place.”

With the lifting of the ban on interstate travel, he pointed out that the assumption should not be that danger is over and it is safe to move about.

“The risks of being infected are higher during traveI, so I strongly advise we do not embark on non-essential travel. This is particularly so for the elderly and those designated as high risk,” the Minister advised.

Giving the usual update on the number of cases and especially deaths as a result of COVID-19, Ehanire said: “Our country has tested a total of 138,462 samples as of today, of which 26,484 are confirmed positive, with 790 cases diagnosed in the past one day. The ratio of male to female among the infected has remained quite stable at 70% to 30%.

“While majority of the infected cases are below 50 years, the majority of the fatalities are over 50 years old. We have successfully treated and discharged 10,152 persons and sadly suffered 603 fatalities, most of them with underlying illnesses and belonging to those we classify as vulnerable.

“This rising trend requires that each state of the Federation continues to prepare more bed spaces and increase COVID-19 sample collection sites, as well as improve logistics to deliver to designated laboratories promptly. It is also important to protect the vulnerable by putting in place measures which take care of their social needs and reduce their exposure to risks of infection.”


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