In a bid to quickly stem the increasing spread of the deadly novel COVID-19, President Muhammadu has given an ultimatum of two weeks to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to identify approximately 5,000 individuals who had contact with some of the COVID-19 cases so far recorded by the country.
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 also revealed that Nigeria lacked required number of ventilators to absorb the growing number of COVID-19 cases the country
In a report by Tribune Online, members of the Presidential Task Force, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and the Director-General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, made these respective known while speaking during a press briefing led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha in Abuja on Tuesday.He, however, pointed out that the challenge was from the top, with the involvement of the SGF.
In his words:
“From the pronouncement made by Mr President from the workings of Presidential Task Force led by the SGF, you can see that this challenge is being taken very seriously from the very top. The leadership of our country has taken this as a challenge and is enjoying all citizens to work together. Together with all of us so that we can get ahead of the clock.
“The strategy that we are still implementing is the one of containment, it means that we are still at the point where we think we have a wind of an opportunity to identify all the cases, confirm if they have the disease, bring them into care, confirm all their contacts, follow up each of them, make sure they don’t have the disease, for those that do have the disease bring them into care.”
Furthermore, Dr Ihekweazu said that: “This is a very tedious process; we are following up about 5,000 contacts across the country. This is one of the reasons Mr. President asked us what we needed and gave us two weeks to free off the road and enable us to have the space to do this effectively.”
Geofrey Onyema, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged that Nigeria was in dire need of ventilators as the available ones would not be enough to accommodate the growing number of cases in the country.
He, however, assured that Nigeria was working with other countries who started battling the pandemic before it got to Nigeria in the areas of equipment procurement, information sharing and other technical collaborations.
In his words, “A lot of other countries have been suffering from this long before ourselves. So, it is an opportunity also for us to learn from best practices, from what other countries have done and maybe not also should have done. That is something we are aggressively doing, keeping in touch with foreign countries and learning from them”.
*** Iyke Nwabueze