The Federal Government has lamented that even with fatality rate of three percent, COVID-19 related deaths in the country were too high.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, stated this in Abuja during the Presidential Task Force (PFT) on COVID-19 100th day briefing.
He said: “Because of the large numbers involved, even the 3 percent fatality rate is very high.
“In some countries that have been taken by surprise, the health system has been overwhelmed and they have lost hundreds and thousands of citizens to COVID-19.
“We in Nigeria are striving to make sure that our health system does not get overwhelmed with the number of cases.
“We are doing all the testing as rapidly as possible by identifying cases, putting the ones that are positive in quarantine, and those that are positive and have severe symptoms are being treated.
“We continue to monitor the situation. We are also looking at what happens in other African and West African countries, to see the steps that they are taking and learn from them.
“We are looking at our own strengths and weaknesses, health systems, lives and livelihoods, so that the economy does not suffer.
“We are also looking to make sure that other diseases which routinely occur in our country are not neglected, especially the treatment of malaria and the provision of basic services like immunisation, maternal, post-natal and child health, nutrition etc.
“We want to make sure that the fear or too much focus on COVID-19 will not cause the abandonment of other diseases. The neglect of other diseases causes more fatality than COVID-19.
“We also look to make sure that farmers can go to work; making sure that fertilisers are available so that harvest this year will not be compromised or reduced. This is to ensure that food shortages will not be added to the problem of CVOID-19.”
On the use of Hydroxychloroquine and analysis of the herbal remedy from Madagascar, Ehanire said: “The Madagascar cure has been received by the Federal Ministry of Health and we have given samples to the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), and the Ministry of Science and Technology, which also conducts experiments and validations. It is still being evaluated in Nigeria.
“Hydroxychloroquine has not been established as a cure; it is one of the drugs being used for clinical trials.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set up a solidarity trial which allows treatment centres to use a certain number of drugs to see how they work, if they work and what the efficacy is.”