COVID-19: Nigeria continues to record decline in cases – NCDC

COVID-19: Nigeria continues to record decline in cases – NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC says the country has continued to record a decline in COVID-19 cases.

The Director General of the agency, Dr.

Ifedayo Adetifa, who was speaking at the Ministerial press briefing on update of COVID-19 response and development in the health sector, in Abuja, said that despite the fact that other countries were still being adversely affected, Nigeria remains lucky.

The DG also said that though Nigeria’s COVID-19 figures remain manageably low, it was important for the citizens to remain cautious and stick to the COVID-19 protocols.

He noted that the Delta variant of COVID-19 was still dominant in Nigeria.

The NCDC boss said that countries in Europe have started to reintroduce restrictions which had resulted in national demonstrations and unrest in some countries.

“Cases have risen sharply in Austria, Netherlands, UK, Germany and Italy.

We must note that these are regions with considerably high vaccination rates, however, they are seeing surges in COVID-19, leading to the decision to make vaccinations mandatory (Austria) to counter the opportunity or transmission of the virus which unvaccinated persons pose.

I mention these to inform you know that COVID-19 is still causing havoc in other countries, and we must not take our situation for granted.

Rather, we must continue to use preventive measures, safeguard our health and take responsibility.

We can work together as we have done in this long-haul response to COVID-19,” he said.

Adetifa encouraged Nigerians to consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if they were yet to, noting that it was safe and effective and would reduce the occurrences of severe disease and deaths.

“The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has and continues to lead on the rollout of vaccines.

Just last week, we had the national flag-off of the mass vaccination campaign and are ensuring that these safe and effective vaccines which have been successfully received get into the arms of Nigerians.

There are now strategic vaccination sites around the FCT” he said.

The DG stated that the National COVID-19 Emergency Operations Centre continues to meet weekly to coordinate the response to the ongoing pandemic.

“With regards to genomic surveillance, we have continued to consider the critical need to address the importation of variants and our sequencing efforts are still underway,”.

He noted that laboratories were still available for COVID-19 testing, while encouraging Nigerians to please get tested if they feel COVID-19 like symptoms.

Increased test screening and surveillance
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director, Port Health Services, (PHS), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr.

Fatima Muhammed Yusuf, said that PHS had continued to heighten surveillance at lands, airports and seaports.

“PHS screens all passengers coming into the country at the various Points of Entry and so far, PHS has screened a total of 87,841 persons of interest in September, 2021, 74,660 in October, 2021 and 8,701 in November.

PHS also provides traffic data on inbound passengers from all over the world.

PHS has continued, Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) at the Seme and Idiroko borders and 15 positive cases were detected out of 1,679 screened with 0.

9% positivity rate,” Dr.

Yusuf explained.

Yusuf said that the positive cases recorded at the Ground Crossings have dropped significantly and no positive case had been detected in the past two months.

She added that PHS’ officers were still positioned at the seaports where passengers and crew of ships were screened before berthing.

She noted that Oil company workers were also being screened before going offshore and so far 138 COVID-19 positive cases have been detected in the country’s seaports and offshore platforms.

“The positive cases detected among oil rig workers have also dropped significantly.

For the past two weeks, not more than 3 cases have been detected.

There were initial technical hitches which have now been resolved,” she added.

Vaccine manufacturing
The Director General of the National Agency For Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Prof.

Mojisola Adeyeye, says Nigeria has completed all recommendations and is closer to vaccine manufacturing.

She said that NAFDAC is building a laboratory in Oshodi, Lagos state, in preparation for vaccine manufacturing.

She noted that following the agency’s investigation and enforcement work round the clock to curb quackery, NAFDAC is now recognised as the best drugs regulator globally.

Self audit
In her report from the department of Hospital Services, Dr.

Adebimpe Adebiyi, said that 450 persons die every twenty four hours in Nigeria.

Adeyeye further said through self audit, the Agency found out that the template that the WHO gave to the country had 868 conditions to meet and by October 15, 2021.

“Attaining the global benchmark would not have been possible without some in-country measures by the agency.

The global bench has some eight functions.

They are laboratory testing, market authorisation, market control, regulatory inspection and vigilance among others.

We were asked to expand our laboratory.

We have expanded the drug lab in Yaba and the vaccine lab is being built.

The list the WHO gave us had 868 recommendations.

This number came up through self audit and that was in January 2018,” she explained.

She said that the department has been collaborating with the Federal Road Safety Corps to reach out to accident victims and survivors.

“We have met those recommendations.

However, WHO have to come physically to work through our facilities and to pronounce that we have reached maturity level and that will be not too far from now.

In terms of new standard regarding vaccine production: Yes science is not static, it is dynamic, medical science is not static, we’ve produced yellow fever vaccine before in Nigeria.

The rules have changed and the rule is that anybody that wants to produce malaria vaccine must have a strong regulatory body.

That is why we had so many recommendations that we have been working on to meet,”she added.

Counterpart funds
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who coordinated the ministerial briefing, said that $200 million loan is requested as Nigeria’s counterpart fund to complement a global malaria action plan to combat malaria in the country.

He said that experts estimated that the money would avert 78,000 deaths, 14.

5 illnesses from malaria and provide 17.

6m malaria services in the states.

“It is important to note that only 26 percent of this is actually planned for net.

The money is domiciled in the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health is only helping,” Ehanire added.

The weekly briefing is aimed at enlightening the public about health related issues across the country.

Emmanuel Ukoh
COVID-19: Nigeria continues to record decline in cases – NCDC

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