Second Wave Of COVID-19: FG Moves To Activate Treatment Centres, Alerts Frontline Health Workers

Following the second wave of COVID-19 surge, the Federal Ministry of Health has said that it is working with the Federal Capital Tertiary hospitals on reactivation of treatment centres, assessing resources available as well as alerting frontline health workers in the country. Minister of Health, Dr. Osage Ehanire, who stated this recently at the Presidential Task Force on COVID -19 press briefing in Abuja, said a corresponding increase in the number of serious cases requiring hospital admission in High Dependency Units for oxygen therapy, or mechanical ventilation support in Intensive Care Units. The minister said, "As the festive season and holidays approach, many people would want to celebrate, many would crowd into shops, markets and places of worship, many would travel with mass transit transport, many would even travel to Nigeria from high burden countries, alerting the citizens that these are all circumstances that are proven to accelerate COVID -19 transmission and have caused explosive increases in other countries. . Ehanire stated that the Federal Government was strengthening the COVID-19 home care treatment protocol for asymptomatic and mild cases and community based care by the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in management of moderate to severe cases. According to him, "We have also commenced inventory taking and plan to distribute wide a range of resources available in our warehouses, according to need. These include PPEs commodities, equipment and consumables for deployment to treatment centres. To strengthen manpower needs Ehanire said steps have been made for continuous nationwide training of various cadres of health workers, especially ICU nurses, intensivists, Biomedical Engineers, etc, to ensure proper utilization and maintenance of ventilators and critical equipment, while improving knowledge and skills of personnel, as we learn more about COVID-19 The minister said the Technical Working Group of the Federal Ministry of Health on COVID -19 was examining modalities to obtain access to vaccines for Nigeria, stressing that they are in conversation with the WHO-GAVI on the COVAX- AMC facility, to support 180 lower and lower middle income countries to access anti-covid vaccines. Ehanire said the National Blood Transfusion Service of the Federal Ministry of Health launched the National Blood Transfusion Strategy to focus on a more efficient blood service system for Nigeria and set up a robust regulatory framework for voluntary non-remunerated Blood Donation. He said the goal was a strategic Safe Blood Reserve that ensured availability of up to one million units of blood at any time. "I shall remind everyone of all that we are already at the beginning of another phase of this pandemic and it is vital that we remember our civic responsibilities, saying if we are to respond decisively to prevent catastrophic resurgence. Ehanire said. The minister however, urged all citizens to play their part by adhering to very simple nonpharmaceutical measures, such as appropriate wearing of face masks, use of alcoholbased sanitizers and most especially, physical distancing. "Being in a crowd and not wearing a mask strongly increases the risk of contracting COVID-19, with higher risks for persons especially 50 years and above, and those with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Adding' that it is always of benefit for citizens to fortify their immune systems by improving their nutrition with fruits and vegetables, Ehanire added.

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