We Need To Scale Up Surveillance To Prevent Surge In COVID-19 Cases – Ehanire – Newspot


The Federal Government has raised concern over the possible surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Speaking during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Tuesday in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, warned that Nigeria might have increased infections if surveillance is not followed.

“As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease,” he said.

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“In line with this, the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has developed a molecular test for COVID-19 that can give results in less than 40 minutes. It is the SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) which can be performed by low skilled personnel with minimum training.

“This test which is ten times cheaper than the PCR, can be deployed for point of care detection and surveillance.

“The technique which was developed by Dr. Chika Onwuamah will be deployed for use as soon as it is validated by the relevant agencies of the Ministry for specificity and Sensitivity.”

PRESS BRIEFING BY HONOURABLE MINISTER OF HEALTH, DR. OSAGIE EHANIRE AT THE PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 ON THURSDAY 29TH  SEPTEMBER, 2020

Protocol

A total of 58,460 confirmed cases have been recorded as at today, 29th September, 2020 with 49,895 cases treated and discharged.  This result is from a total of 509,555 persons tested for COVID-19. Sadly, the number of deaths as a result of the disease has since crossed the 1100 mark with 1111 deaths recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. We currently have 7,454 active cases which are being managed at home or are in treatment centres with about half of them in Lagos State.

2.            The number of active cases has continued to drop as we revise our discharge criteria in line with new knowledge of the disease even as we continue to strengthen our case management pillar to provide effective and efficient quality care to all those who test positive whether they are in our facilities or home care.

3.            As business and schools begin to open and as travels begin to pick up, we fear that we may have a surge in the number of cases unless we scale up surveillance and review our response plan to integrate new ways to deal with the disease.

4.            In line with this, the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research has developed a molecular test for COVID-19 that can give results in less than 40 minutes. It is the SARS-COV-2 Isothermal Molecular Assay (SIMA) which can be performed by low skilled personnel with minimum training. This test which is ten times cheaper than the PCR can be deployed for point of care detection and surveillance. The technique which was developed by Dr. Chika Onwuamah will be deployed for use as soon as it is validated by the relevant agencies of the Ministry for specificity and Sensitivity.

5.            I commend the Management of NIMR led by prof. Salako and particularly Dr. Onwuamah for this laudable breakthrough. I also extend the appreciation of Government to the FATE Philanthropy Coalition for COVID-19 (FPCC) Support Fund for funding the project. Government will continue to support every genuine initiative that contribute to our response plan.

6.            On Friday, 25 September, 2020, I had the privilege of performing the   commissioning and hand over of the Infectious Disease Centre at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital which is a purpose-built infectious disease treatment centre as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to providing the necessary infrastructure and resources for infectious disease management. It will go a long way towards improving our capacity to respond to all infectious diseases.

7.            It is a fall back facility which we do not have to put to use if we observe all necessary preventive measures such as wearing of face masks, observing respiratory hygiene, and physical distancing. In addition, we also need to ensure that we test and isolate all those with symptoms which suggest COVID-19. 

8.            This morning, the top management Committee of the Federal Ministry of Health played host to the Victims Support funds (VSF) who were in the Ministry to officially present some IT equipment to the federal Ministry of Health to boost the technical capacity of personnel support our response to the pandemic. The VSF has been supporting the Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19. I wish to use this opportunity to General T.Y Danjuma and the management of the VSF for the initiative. I recall that the fund has also supported the NCDC as well.

9.            I shall again renew my appeal to state government to continue to ensure that we step up case findings, sample collection and testing. It is only by testing that we can identify those with the infection for isolation and treatment. This is the only way we can truly halt the spread of the disease and confirm that we have actually contained the pandemic.

10.          Our goal is to have at least one standard Infectious Disease centre in every state. We shall therefore work with states establish purpose-built treatment centres that will ensure we are better prepared for infectious disease outbreaks in the country.

11.          Thank you



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