The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has revealed plans to establish one sample collection centre per Local Government Area (LGA) across Nigeria as part of its efforts to scale up testing capacity.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, made the disclosure during the task force’s national briefing on Monday.
According to Mustapha, the decision is part of key resolutions reached at a two-day meeting (Midterm review) which involved legislators including the Chairmen of the relevant Committees on Health in the Senate and House of Representatives, the Office of the Vice President, Ministers, Diplomatic Community as well as development partners.
On Case management deficit, he said it has been resolved that there will be focus on having enough oxygen nationwide as the number of hospitalised persons increases
“Strategy for high burden LGAs: Focus on high burden LGAS with precision interventions including increased risk communication,” he said.
“Risk communication: Increase community engagement including religious leaders.
“State ownership and Collaboration: Increase state ownership by increasing State engagement and collaboration. Strengthen ownership at the state and local government levels;
“Compliance on IPC measures: Institutionalise IPC policies in health care facilities and take step to increase compliance of non-pharmaceutical measures (use of face masks, hand sanitizers, and physical distancing).
“Private sector: Increase engagement with the private sector.
“Industrial Development as a gain from the Pandemic: Support local production of PPEs and other critical supplies.
“Movement post easing of lockdowns: Communicating that anyone above 60 years or persons with morbidities (such as hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancers etc.), should stay at home and avoid social events as they are at highest risk of infection and mortality.
“Government meetings/Board meetings: Should be conducted virtually until further notice. All unnecessary travels for meetings by government official suspended till further notice.
“Post PTF National Response: Develop an exit strategy beyond the life of the PTF, that is beyond September 2020.”
The PTF chairman noted that the rising fatalities from COVID-19 in Nigeria is as a result of “denial and delay in seeking help.”
“Underlying the above, as a cross-cutting initiative, is an enhanced Risk Communication Strategy designed not only to educate the citizenry on the virulence of the virus and individual and collective roles but more importantly to tackle the deliberate misinformation being bandied around especially in the social media,” Mustapha said.
“An enhanced Risk Communication strategy becomes inevitable when we realise that within the last twenty-four hours, the world witnessed the largest single day cases of 230,370 while in Nigeria the last week recorded the highest weekly fatality of 70 deaths. The rising fatalities in Nigeria is not unconnected with denial and delay in seeking help.”