The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday dismissed the claim and the advice of United States President, Donald Trump, on the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, for COVID-19.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the PTF in Abuja, both Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire and the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwelugo Ihekweazu, said hydroxychloroquine had not been recommended and warned Nigerians not to listen to the US President’s claims.
President Trump had said on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent coronavirus infection.
But the NCDC director general said the PTF would only comment on what President Muhammadu Buhari said and not what President Trump and any other presidents said.
“On hydroxychloroquine, we cannot comment on what other presidents are saying, we can only comment on what our own president says,” Dr. Ihekweazu said.
Also speaking, the Enahire warned that hydroxychloroquine was not recommended for the treatment of COVID-19, even though he added that a centre was already carrying out a study on its efficacy.
He warned Nigerians not to engage in self medication, saying, “I do not recommend that you take anything except your doctor has prescribed it to you.”
Dr. Ehanire said: “About hydroxychloroquine; first, we do not at any time and in any way support self-medication and if you heard that any person is taking medication of any type, it is obviously something prescribed by his doctor.
“There are medicines that normally shouldn’t be in your hands unless it was prescribed by a doctor. There are medicines called OTC, over the counter, you can buy it yourself, it can be panadol, aspirin, any kind of rubs, anything for cough.
“There is also prescription medicine which you should not have unless a doctor has prescribed it. But here we are, people can buy almost what they want; it is not recommended. I do not recommend that you take anything except your doctor has prescribed it to you.
“As I said before, there is a study being done on the efficacy of some drugs by about five centres in our country, hydroxychloroquine is one of them. When the result comes out, I will share with you; but again, stay with what your doctor has prescribed, do not start self medicating, do not become a doctor for yourself, otherwise you can do serious harm to yourself.”