*Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Nigeria’s Health Minister
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic exposing the deplorable status of Nigeria’s healthcare, the federal government of Nigeria may have woken up from slumber. The minister of health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire disclosed that government is thinking about building isolation centers al all land borders across the country. According to him, the primary health centres were not meant to treat coronavirus patients.
Ehanire added that treatment centres would be sited at border areas to cater for Nigerians returning from neighbouring countries. He also said government was concerned about the prevalence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in those countries that are neighbours to Nigeria. He said, “Prevalence of COVID-19 in neigbouring states is a new concern. There is a plan to build treatment centres near the legal entry borders. The borders are closed, but when Nigerian citizens turn up, they are allowed in. What we do is to take them to a facility where they can be isolated, screened and go through the protocol of 14-day observation before they are released. Those who are positive are taken to the isolation centres.”
The minister said that Nigeria had made significant progress in contact tracing and that till date 9,029 persons of interest had been followed with 99 per cent of them already exceeding their 14-day observation period. Speaking about a woman who claimed that she was given a fake result that confined her to an isolation centre in Benue State, the minister noted that all necessary steps were taken to ascertain the status of the woman, when she returned from abroad.
He said, “This is a person who came from abroad and headed for Benue but felt unwell, taken to a hospital and tested positive and placed in isolation. People who are infected can have no symptoms, mild or severe symptoms. Even without symptoms, they can be infectious. This person soon recovered and decided to doubt the test she had undergone. “Apparently, there was an altercation that made the people there to call me and I intervened and spoke with the person. She was disputing the result because she felt very well and showed no symptom. The first complaint was that she was not comfortable with the place where she was kept so we arranged for a transfer to a more comfortable facility and requested a second test which came out positive. We are planning a third test.”