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COVID-19: FG Goes Tough On Hospitals Over Neglect Of Routine Health Services



Neglect Of Routine Health Services Hospitals

COVID-19: FG Goes Tough On Hospitals Over Neglect Of Routine Health Services

Tough times await health facilities that have developed the habit of rejecting or abandoning sick persons for fear of COVID-19 as the federal government has warned that they will pay dearly for the outcomes from such hospitals.

The government’s decision came on the heels of disturbing reports of very sick persons being rejected and abandoned by hospitals due to fear of Coronavirus.

The federal government is worried that in recent times many Nigerians have died having been denied attention in hospitals or told there was no bed space, after making marathon journeys from one hospital to the other in search of medical help.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, disclosed the government’s position yesterday at the joint meeting of ministers of Health and medical directors of government hospitals in FCT catchment area in Abuja.

He warned that the act was unacceptable as the country cannot afford to continue to lose so many of its citizens who have found their way to a health facility only to lose their lives to health conditions, some of which could have been cured.

“I appeal to all medical directors, who we have specifically invited here today for this message, that we shall hold each personally accountable for the outcomes emanating from your hospitals. No emergency should be denied attention, even if it means admitting on a stretcher or examination couch to give lifesaving oxygen,” the minister warned.

Ehanire noted that not all emergencies are COVID-19, even as he reminded the heads of hospitals that their professional oaths oblige them to save lives and do something for those who come to them for help.

He said government, on its part, has made efforts to provide PPEs to all hospitals and conduct training for health workers on infection prevention and control so that they can stay safe as they deliver service.

He stated: “Our calling as doctors and health workers is to save lives. We cannot at this time abandon a divine responsibility especially in case of emergency when our service is most needed. The situation calls for reexamining our system.

“I understand that health workers are rightfully concerned about their safety in covid-19 pandemic. So, we have provided PPEs, training and an infection prevention and control protocol for doctors and nurses to discharge our duties safely, without risks to themselves.

“But we in the healthcare sector cannot afford negative impact on our sector and must be mindful of the collateral damage that can befall us, wipe out disease control gains we have made in past decades and threaten our not so strong health system.

“Efforts to control covid19 must not be at the expense of allowing other diseases that are equally life threatening to begin to thrive and increase mortality. It would be a serious setback if medical services, especially emergency medical service, begin to deteriorate in the wake of fighting COVID-19.

“There are places today, where we suspect that needless mortality from other diseases has overtaken the threat of COVID-19. We are beginning to see that fear of, or focus, on coronavirus are making some health institutions lose sight of other health hazards in our ccommunities. Immunization rate, skilled birth attendance, RMNCH+N have declined. We must therefore take steps to ensure that we sustain routine health services to our people.”

On testing, Ehanire hinted that he has directed that a side Laboratory for GeneXpert COVID-19 diagnostic machines, which deliver results within one hour, should be deployed and activated at the National Hospital Abuja and the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital to cut down waiting time.

He continued: “I also direct that basic diagnostic side laboratories be set up at the Emergency centers of major hospitals.

“The Hon. Minister of FCT and I have agreed on a protocol to make all major public hospitals in the FCT catchment area, whether managed by Federal or FCT administration, to be covid-19 sample collection sites, to facilitate fast sample collection, reduce turn-around time for test results and bring more efficiency to the response strategy”.

Ehanire also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Health’s plan is to focus more on minimizing fatalities by prioritizing preemptive admission to hospital for medical observation.

He said, “All persons who test positive for COVID-19 and meet our definition of vulnerability, even if they do not yet have classical symptoms. These include the elderly, diabetics, asthmatics and persons in treatment for chronic infections and conditions.

“This population group will also be targeted for risk communication and engagement to avoid nonessential travel and exposure to risk factors outside the home.”

On the Madagascar herbal remedy, the minister said that the preliminary results of the analysis of the herbs by NIPRID showed that it is the same as the plant, Artemisia anua, which is grown in the NIPRID farm.

He noted that further research on its efficacy will be conducted when the grants for research is approved.

Insists Schools Have Not Resumed

The federal government also insisted that schools have not reopened.

Chairman of the presidential task force on COVID-19 and secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, who made the clarifications in Abuja during the briefing of the task force yesterday said schools were only opened for graduating students.

Specifically, Mustapha pointed out that it was still not safe to reopen schools.

He, however, added that in order not to truncate the progression of pupils and students in critical examination classes, the president approved that arrangements be made for them to resume for those who need revision before the commencement of examinations.

He lamented that this aspect has been subjected to several interpretations and misinterpretations.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubts, schools have not resumed. Only critical examination classes will be allowed to resume for those who need revision before examinations.

“As we have informed you, the Federal Ministry of education will consult further with stakeholders before issuing guidelines that will lead to full resumption.

“We appeal to Nigerians to continue to show understanding and to ensure that their wards take full advantage of electronic platforms provided for learning.

Mustapha also made some clarifications about government offices, saying without prejudice to the additional guidelines that will be issued by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the following generally applicable guidelines are to be observed.

“As much as practicable, virtual meetings should be encouraged to minimise congregation of officials. Government offices should restrict visits by those who are not on very essential businesses, to their premises”, he stated.

He also stated that the PTF received, with great concern, reports about the attack on the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State by some hoodlums.

According to him, the PTF is particularly distressed and regrets the trauma to which medical workers, patients and others who went on their legitimate businesses were subjected.

He assured Nigerians that security agencies have been tasked with the responsibility of fishing out the criminal elements behind it and ensure that they are brought to justice.

“Finally, we shall continue to work with the States and other stakeholders regarding the precision measures to be deployed in the high burden Local Government Areas,” he added.

WHO Urges Strong COVID-19 Air Travel Safety Measures In Africa

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged Africa to take effective measures to mitigate the risk of a surge in infections due to the resumption of commercial flights and airport operations.

The global health body said while open borders are vital for the free flow of goods and people, its initial analysis found that lockdowns along with public health measures reduced the spread of COVID-19.

It said even with border restrictions, imported cases have sometimes brought back COVID-19 to countries which had not reported cases for a length of time.

“Air travel is vital to the economic health of countries. But as we take to the skies again, we cannot let our guard down. Our new normal still requires stringent measures to stem the spread of COVID-19,” WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said.

Ondo Health Commissioner Dies, Gov’s Wife Test Positive For Virus

Meanwhile, barely 48 hours after Ondo state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, the state commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, died yesterday of the deadly disease.

Adegbenro who died at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owo, was said to have been diagnosed of the deadly disease on Monday.


Apart from Adegbenro, the chief medical director of the University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED) Teaching Hospital, Ondo, Dr Oluwole Ige, also tested positive for COVID-19.

A statement issued by Adeeyo Babatunde noted that the CMD is currently being treated and he is responding to the treatment positively.

Few hours after the Ondo state commissioner for Health died of COVID-19, the wife of the state governor, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu also tested positive for the deadly disease.

This is coming few days after her husband, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, embarked on self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Also, source gathered that some of her aides were also tested positive for the disease when their result came out yesterday evening.

It was also gathered that some members of the House of Assembly who followed Gov Akeredolu to Abuja for the submission of his re-election nomination form were apprehensive, just as they have been advised to embark on self-isolation pending the time their COVID-19 test will be conducted.

The results of the test conducted for commissioners, special advisers, other top political office holders, media aides and journalists in the governor’s office were yet to be released.

Ganduje Eases Lockdown In Kano

Meanwhile, Kano State governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, yesterday announced the lifting of lockdown in the state, saying members of the public are now free to go about their normal businesses.

Ganduje made the disclosure while briefing journalists on the recent development on COVID-19 in the state yesterday.

“Having studied carefully the decline in the number of people that are daily becoming positive in the state we felt it is high time that we open the state including Market places Work places among others”, the governor stated.

He said civil servants who are asked to stay at home for the past four months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those on grade level 12 are to resume work on Monday”

He said although federal government-imposed Curfew from 10pm to 4am still remains, tricyclists are to be carrying only two passengers and observe the wearing of facemasks, failure of which will attract penalties.

Air Travellers To Pay 25% Price Hike

Meanwhile, Nigerian air travelers are expected to pay as much as 25% hike in airfare as the country airspace opens next week for domestic flights.

The country aviation sector was short down about 100 days ago due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

But strong indications on Thursday have shown that air travellers are in for a new price regime.

Arik Air, one of the major airline operators in Nigeria for instance, has effected 25% increase in its fare in air trips across the country.

When confronted by journalists on the planned air fare hike by airline operators at the Senate wing of the National Assembly on Thursday, Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, evaded questions, saying costs of flights should be discussed with airlines operators.

“Price is not in my hand but like I said from what we put in place, I do not think that anything significant will happen to affect the propensity to fly”, he said.

In his earlier submission before the Senate committee on Aviation on state of preparedness for commencement of the domestic flights, the Aviation minister declared that Aids of VIPs will not be allowed to enter airports.

No Time Frame For Train Service Re-commencement – PTF

The presidential task force (PTF) on COVID-19 said yesterday that the rail station will implement COVID-19 protocol similar to that of the airports before the resumption of train service in order to tackle the pandemic.

Reacting to the question of the time frame for train resumption in Nigeria, the coordinator of the PTF, Sani Aliyu, said it is when all COVID-19 safety protocols are in place that the stations can open.

He also noted that the PTF had also discussed with the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on the need to set up similar airport protocols before the resumption of train services.

Yobe Urges Commercial Vehicles Operators To Maintain Social Distance

Yobe state committee on prevention and control of COVID-19 under the chairmanship deputy governor, Idi Barde Gubana, has urged all commercial vehicles and motorcycle operators to maintain physical distancing in their vehicles across the state.

The deputy governor disclosed this during the meeting of the committee to review the existing protocols and preventive measures to curtail the spread of the disease in the state.

“All passenger in the state must wear face masks, observes proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene”, said Gubana.

At the end of the meeting, the committee unanimously resolved that travellers must comply strictly with the existing protocols and preventive measures of COVID-19.

The chairman said, “In line with the Federal Government resolution of opening schools for students in final year and those preparing for final exams, all schools will be reopened for students of JSS, SS3 and primary 6 preparing for common entrance examination. However, proper prevention and control measures against COVID-19 must be observed”.

Ayade Lauds PMB, NCDC, Explains Why C’River Is Virus-free

Meanwhile, as the country enters the next phase of the novel Coronavirus management, Cross River state governor, Professor Ben Ayade, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), federal ministry of Health and the state COVID-19 response taskforce for the skillful management of the pandemic.

The governor expressed delight that the state has so far remained free of the virus.

The obviously elated Ayade who spoke yesterday during a meeting with the state response team announced a cash donation to the state COVID-19 response taskforce “for working day and night to ensure that our state remains free of this virus”.

He attributed Cross River’s free virus status in the first phase of the management of the pandemic to the proactive and safety measures his administration had put in place.

Ayade said, “As a general treatment protocol, in hospitals in Cross River state, people are so well trained and equipped with public enlightenment. This accounts for one of the reasons for the zero COVID-19 case in the state.

“We introduced the use of nose masks early. In fact, we were the first to lock our borders, we introduced face shields. We were the first in anything that were required as defensive mechanism against COVID-19. So, it became obvious and clear that we were able to contain with other airborne related diseases.

“So, we have no reason to suggest that there is pandemic in Cross River. Statistics also show it.”

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PCR Tests for Travellers Fraudulent, Probe NCDC, Ministry – WHO Envoy



PCR Tests for Travellers Fraudulent, Probe NCDC, Ministry – WHO Envoy

The World Health Organisation’s Special Envoy for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, Ayoade Alakija, has called for an investigation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health over the required COVID-19 PCR tests for inbound passengers to Nigeria.


Alakija, in a tweet via her official Twitter handle, @yodifiji, wondered why the PCR tests were done with no reagents.
According to reports, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Ifedayo Adetifa, had earlier insisted that Nigeria would not scrap COVID-19 tests for inbound passengers into the country.

Adetifa had said the country was reporting a high rate of COVID-19 cases from inbound passengers, hence the need for the insistence of the tests.
Alakija, reacting to a tweet by a journalist, David Hundeyin, tweeted, “It’s a scam. The entire thing is a criminal enterprise and should be exposed. “Diagnostic tests to enter a country where the government officials have interest in Dx test centres. PCR tests with no reagents? NCDC and MOH should be investigated. It is a scam, period.”

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Austria Suspends Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccine Law



Austria has announced that it is suspending mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for all adults this came weeks after the legislature took effect in an EU first.




The Alpine nation of nine million people was among few countries in the world to make jabs against the coronavirus compulsory for all adults.
The law took effect in February and called for fines up to 3,600 euros ($3,940) from mid-March for those who do not comply.

However, minister Karoline Edtstadler said the law’s “encroachment of fundamental rights” could no longer be justified by the danger posed by the pandemic.
“After consultations with the health minister, we have decided that we will of course follow what the (expert) commission has said,” Edtstadler told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
“We see no need to actually implement this compulsory vaccination due to the (Omicron) variant that we are predominantly experiencing here.” He noted

According to him,the highly-contagious variant is widely believed to be less severe than previous strains of the virus, and so far Austrian hospitals have been able to cope with a surge in cases.


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F.G. Commences Vaccination with Over 30 Million J&J Vaccines



Following efforts to increase the COVID-19 vaccination coverage of eligible persons across the country, the Federal Government has launched the service delivery, communication, accountability, logistics, electronic reporting, and supportive supervision (S.C.A.L.E.S) strategy.

The SCALES 2.0 strategy, which will ensure that more Nigerians can easily locate a nearby health facility to get vaccinated by visiting the website (, will also integrate childhood immunisation alongside other primary health care services.




Also, eligible persons can now get vaccinated with a single shot of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines, as there are over 30 million vaccine doses available.

Nigeria has received over 64 million COVID-19 vaccines – AstraZeneca, Moderna, J&J and Pfizer. Furthermore, 48 million vaccines are expected before mid-year.

Latest vaccination data showed that as of February 21, 2022, a total of 17,199,853 eligible Nigerians have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, while 7,663,560 have received their second dose. In total, 24,863,413 vaccine doses have been administered.

The Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Faisal Shuaib, made this known in Abuja during the launch of the SCALES 2.0 strategy with the use of the single dose J&J vaccine.

Dr Shuaib said: “We want to ensure that we not only decentralise COVID-19 vaccination, but make sure that we improve coverage and access to COVID-19 vaccination. Today, we are vaccinating just a little over 200,000 people per day. For us to reach our target of reaching 70 per cent of eligible populations before the end of 2022, we have to hit 550,000 people per day. This will ensure that we reach herd immunity.

“We are also going to be launching the single shot vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) for everyone. We understand that one of the reasons there is a gap between our first and second doses is because people experience adverse events following COVID-19 vaccination. Although the adverse events are very mild, we know that the opportunity to have a single shot not only in the hardest to reach areas, but everybody having access to one single shot will definitely increase our coverage of COVID-19 vaccination.

“The COVID-19 vaccination ‘site finder’ will improve the ability of Nigerians to assess COVID-19 vaccines. If you are able to sign on to this website, you will be shown the nearest COVID-19 vaccination centre.”

In her remarks, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Moeti Matshidiso, hailed the Federal Government’s vaccination strategy and efforts in ensuring that more Nigerians are covered.

She said: “I think we have learnt many lessons on how to leverage the capacities and lessons in delivering such campaigns in a country like Nigeria and internationally.

“I understand that there is going to be a great deal of emphasis on decentralisation – on really leveraging the decentralised nature of the Nigerian system and government to engage decision makers at the state and local government level, so that they can drive the very much action needed to speed up delivery of vaccines to the population.

“There will also be the need to expand the delivery capacity because at the same time the country is carrying out this important work, there is other work of delivering vaccines, responding to public health emergencies going on.”

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, added: “Let me assure Nigerians that we have adequate stock of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, as we have over 30 million doses in stock. I call on all eligible persons that are yet to receive their vaccination to go to the nearest COVID-19 vaccination site and get vaccinated. This single dose offers the same protection you get from two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer Bio-N-Tech and Moderna vaccines.


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