The Federal Ministry of Health has asked looters, who stole COVID-19 drugs and other medical consumables, to return them.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, who made the appeal at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja, said that the looting of the drugs could slow down the response to the pandemic.
Mr Mamora also urged looters to stop crashing the nation’s medical stores.
According to him, most of the medicines and medical consumables in these stores are stored under controlled environmental conditions.
He explained that such conditions included temperatures and humidity, adding that the disruption of those conditions would render the drugs and consumables ineffective and, in some cases, poisonous.
“The NCDC warehouse in Idu (in Abuja) is used for the storage of medical and laboratory consumables and equipment. Destruction of these items will impact negatively on our response to this pandemic.
“I also call on all who are in possession of vaccines, medicines and other equipment and consumables to please return them. Those that can still be salvaged will be used and those that cannot will be disposed off properly,” he said.
He explained that as at Monday, Nigeria had 61,992 confirmed cases from 607,435 people tested for COVID-19, while 57,465 cases were discharged with 1,130 lost to the pandemic.
“We now have 3,397 active cases as more persons are treated and discharged with case fatality rate of 1.8 per cent. This is less than the case fatality rate of 2.4 percent in Africa and the global rate of 2.8 percent.
“We are not relenting in our efforts to ensure that the case fatality rate continues to decline as we focus on improvement in case management capacity and ensure availability of equipment and medical consumables for our health workers,” he said.
The minister also said that with the decline in the number of active cases and the number of cases on admission, some Isolation Centres in Nigeria were already making arrangements to rationalise the number of front line health personnel into the reserve pool or redeploy them.
According to him, this will be done in a manner that will allow easy re-mobilisation where necessary.
“We, however, advise states and relevant stakeholders not to completely close all Isolation centres due to consistent lack of patients; the centres should rather be maintained.
“This is to ensure promptness and readiness against any surge as part of the preparation against possible second wave. We are taking advantage of this low active cases to carry out appraisal and reappraisal of activities at the isolation centres.
“This is necessary to assess and understand areas of strengths, weaknesses, available opportunities as well as dangers.
“Such activities will consolidate gains while taking measures to prevent re-occurrence of errors as well as deployment of appropriate resources,” he said.
The minister also stated that government was making arrangements for stock taking and repositioning of equipment earlier deployed to temporary isolation centres.
He said that such arrangements were made in order to use the opportunity provided by the resource mobilisation for the COVID-19 response to strengthen health systems.