Home Uncategorized NCDC cries out as rapid test kits black market rises

NCDC cries out as rapid test kits black market rises

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday raised the alarm over increasing deaths caused by rejection of patients in the country’s hospitals.

The PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha,   at the task force press conference in Abuja, lamented that despite the admonition of the Federal Ministry of Health,  hospitals were still rejecting non-COVID-19 patients.

Also at the press conference, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control Director General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, raised the alarm over growing rapid test kits black market in the country.

According to him, some organisations are selling “what they call antibody tests.” He, therefore warned that such “antibody tests” could not give valid COVID-19 results.

Nigeria currently has  8,733 COVID-19 patients and  112 isolation centres in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory. There are 29 laboratories, where COVID-19 is being tested.

With COVID-19 cases rising   to 8,733  on Wednesday,  the task force  warned that the government could not cope with increasing  coronavirus cases.

We are recording more deaths over hospital’s refusal to treat patientsF G laments

But on Thursday, Mustapha raised the alarm that more deaths were being recorded from non-coronavirus illnesses in the country.

It attributed this to the refusal of hospitals, including federal institutions, to treat patients for fear of COVID-19.

Mustapha, at the presidential task force briefing,  said,  “The PTF has received rather sadly, reports of continued refusal by medical institutions to receive and treat patients for fear of COVID-19. This has resulted in several unfortunate and avoidable fatalities and statistics have shown that there is a drastic drop in the percentage of attention being paid to other ailments not related to COVID-19.

“This situation is made worse by the fact that federal tertiary institutions have been mentioned among those rejecting patients for fear of COVID-19. This is not acceptable. We are saddened by this development.

“The minister of health has reached out to all medical directors directing them to continue providing regular medical services so that we do not end up with avoidable deaths. Truth be told, we are having more deaths from non-attendance to other diseases than even COVID-19.”

The SGF urged all the chief medical directors and private health service providers to attend to other health challenges, which had continued to confront people on a daily basis.

PTF to submit report to President on Sunday

The PTF chairman said further recommendations would be submitted to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.),  in the next 72 hours after an assessment report on the eased lockdown.

He said, “Within the next 72 hours, the PTF will conclude its assessment on the impact of the measures put in place and further recommendations would be submitted to the President for a decision.”

Mustapha stated that task force had continued to stress the need for a drastic change in lifestyle and behaviour because  COVID-19 was long term and that the cure was not readily available.

He stated, “This advisory is based on the fact that the battle is long term and the cure is still in the distant future, nearest being towards the end of 2021. We continue to urge our citizens to follow these advisories diligently.”

He said that the PTF  had not shortlisted three drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 as reported in the media.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubts, neither the PTF nor the Federal Ministry of Health has shortlisted any remedies. This can only be done after diligent processes and as may be advised by the relevant agencies.”

The PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the task force would be focusing on greater community mobilisation by engaging over 800,000 volunteers.

Aliyu stated, “This strategy involves an aggressive campaign to ensure everyone in the community is armed with the information they need to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to protect themselves.

“It will empower communities to self-mobilise within their interest groups and collectively practise and enforce prevention measures.”

Aliyu said the campaign would cut across communities in the 774 local government areas at the grassroots by engaging partners such as the National Orientation Agency, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, the United Nations Children Education Fund, Jamaatu Nasrul Islam, National Council for Women Societies, Yar’Adua Foundation, Nigerian Interfaith Action Association, the UN system and many more.

At the press conference, the NCDC director general said there were  organisations selling  “antibody tests.”

He said, “It’s important to understand what an antibody test is. When an antibody test works, it only tells you if you have been exposed and infected. It doesn’t tell you if you have an active infection or not. Therefore, on its own, it is very difficult to use it to make a clinical decision.

“So, I would really encourage everyone, as we begin to plan to go back to work, whether you are an employee and an employer, to really focus on prevention.”

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