The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said that the government is currently working on local production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to support frontline workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ehanire, disclosed this during the PTF’s daily briefing on COVID-19, on Thursday in Abuja.
He advised healthcare workers who felt they could not handle the pandemic to speak up, noting nobody would be forced or conscripted to join.
He urged healthcare workers who had been trained on infectious disease control to sustain the fight against the pandemic.
“If you hear us speaking here frequently against trying to treat coronavirus in private clinics, we are actually referring to those people who do so without having necessary precautions and training because they risk infecting themselves and go home and give this infection to their families.
“Healthcare workers who have no training have no business handling coronavirus, ” he said.
“As for those who do not have protective equipment, we have said that we have PPE for those who are out there.
“It is important for healthcare workers to understand that nobody is forced or conscripted to handle the virus.
“Those who cannot handle it have the option of requesting to be excused and someone else will come in,” he said.
On daily laboratory testing capacity
The minister said that daily laboratory testing capacity for COVID-19 had been increased to 2,500 in the 15 molecular diagnosis laboratories across the country.
“Active community transmission is illustrated by the increasing number of confirmed persons who have COVID-19.
“This is a major challenge and necessitates a call on all citizens to take COVID-19 infection seriously, and take ownership of their health, and strictly adhere to public health advisories.
“Federal Ministry of Health has brought in manpower capacity from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to strengthen and integrate risk communication with the planned training for primary healthcare workers.
“This ensures that health services remain accessible at the primary healthcare facilities, while ensuring that our citizens and health workers are safe.”
He said that NPHCDA would anchor community engagement and mobilisation for COVID-19, awareness and test demand creation.
“If you suspect COVID-19 anywhere, call the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control toll-free number for a test,” the minister said.