By Moses Emorinken
Abuja (Precise Post) – The inspection of public and private treatment facilities for coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja, has started.
The inspection and accreditation tour, which will first begin with states that already have active cases will eventually reach other states in the country.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force briefing on Covid-19 in Abuja.
According to him, “Federal Ministry of Health Covid-19 Accreditation Committee is inspecting public and private treatment centres and following strict infectious disease management protocols in order to increase bed capacity for Covid-19 admission and treatment nationwide and to protect health workers from harm.
“They will soon start this inspection and accreditation to all states beginning with those with active Covid-19 cases.
“The bed space expansion starts without federal tertiary hospitals who will also be the centres for ICU at the beginning, where separate wings have been reserved and converted for Covid-19 management.
“Lagos UniversityTeaching Hospital commenced such operation last Monday with a 60-bed isolation centre having received a Covid-19 starter pack and trained healthcare workers.
“I want to mention here that the future Assured Programme of her the First Lady, has assisted us in locating a treatment centre which is currently under renovation at the cadastral zone area in Abuja.
“All the designated isolation and treatment centres have adequate supplies to manage cases and there is no shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and no fear of shortage in the short term for health workers.
“It must be noted that there is a limited supply of consumables in the market due to increased global demand and increased production due to the public health crisis. We are, however, developing in-country manufacturing.
“Citizens should use limited supply of this equipment judiciously and also bear in mind that this should not be a time for hoarding or for making profits. Health workers are our priority in rationing of commodities because they are more at risk.
“Private facilities must apply to the Federal Ministry of Health for accreditation before engaging in treatment of patients, because they share in the responsibility to maintain the essential and emergency services and ensure safe transfer of suspected cases by dialing the toll-free national emergency number 112, or the NCDC toll-free number 080097000010”.
The Minister encouraged private practitioners to uphold the role in educating the public and protecting other patients and frontline workers by having a high index of suspicion to identify advice and refer suspected cases to designated Covid-19 management facilities for testing, according to NCDC guidelines.
Earlier, Dr. Ehanire, had hinted that the country will likely expect a surge in the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, as it is increasing testing capacities across the country. This, he explains is not a bad thing, but a testament that our increased testing capacity is yielding fruits, and those detected can be treated early before their cases becomes severe.
Currently, the federal government has activated nine molecular diagnostic laboratories to scale up testing capacity for the coronavirus in the country.
According to him, “The Federal Ministry of Health, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), is increasing testing capacity continuously and as of today, we have nine laboratories capable of testing COVID-19.
“We have two in Abuja – NCDC National Reference Laboratory and Defence Reference Laboratory; Three in Lagos – Laboratory in LUTH, Lagos State Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory, and Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR).
“Others are – Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital in Edo State, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Virology Laboratory of Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) in Osun State”.
He stated that additional laboratories in Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Sokoto States are set to come online imminently.
He added: “Federal Ministry of Health has engaged the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Group of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMGMAN), to scale-up local capacity and seek innovative solutions.
“The Ministry had also met with the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (AGPMPN) and the Guild of Medical Directors to discuss collaboration between private medical practitioners and government in the Covid-19 national response.” (The Nation).