COVID-19: Stop Revealing Details Of Drugs Used For Treatment- FG Warns Survivors

The leadership of medical researchers in the country have alleged that its members were being blatantly ignored in the federal government’s effort to find a home-grown solution to the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

the national body of researchers, in a letter to the government, said that, as it currently stands, there was a ‘disconnect’ between the Presidential Task Force (PTF), which it described as the political managers of the pandemic and the body of Nigerian researchers.

In a letter signed by the Secretary-General of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, in Abuja, the association stressed that despite its capacity, the government was looking for answers outside the country.

It called on, the federal government, as well as the state governments, to recognise the relevance of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), among others, to the nation’s immediate need for testing, certification of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), treatment and research on Coronavirus.

“As the engine room and indeed the brain box of Nigeria’s medical research, NIMR has both the manpower and facility to coordinate all Coronavirus-related cure and therapeutic research, geared towards acceptable medical processes and procedures.

“This is also in line with global practices as medical and academic research institutes have been at the forefront in combating COVID-19 globally. For Nigeria to systematically approach the cure for COVID-19, it is germane to harness all leading research for a possible cure of the virus.

“This has become imminent, given the non-engagement and the seeming sidelining of NIMR despite its capacity to provide adequate mitigation programmes in the fight against Coronavirus,” the organisation said.

ASURI insisted that as a research and the scientific-driven organisation, if the Nigerian government is to make any strategic and tangible contribution in the mitigation, prevention and treatment of Coronavirus, there was an urgent need to advance home-grown research.

It said that the body was of the firm belief that as the mandate research agency for medical solutions, NIMR had the requisite capacity and research acumen to collaborate with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), leading in the research component on the fight against COVID-19.

“It is our view that NIMR, as a research-based institute, has the full capacity to carry out expanded tests for Coronavirus, which both federal and state governments will tap into to ensure adequate mitigation and treatment for Covid-19.

“We make bold to state that NIMR is capable of conducting more than 1000 Covid-19 tests and provision of test kits.

“The institute is also poised to coordinate an amalgam of indigenous Nigerian researchers in the medical, pharmaceutical and herbal-pharmacology health field to spearhead a reliable and dependable treatment and therapy for coronavirus.”

NNPC Donates 70-Bed Hospital to FCT

The Federal Capital Territory’s fight against the coronavirus crisis has received a boost in form of the 70 bed Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) hospital at Utako District of the City, currently under renovation and to be put to use when completed.

This was made known yesterday when the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello led a delegation from the FCTA on a courtesy visit to the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari at the Corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.

Bello thanked the NNPC and the entire oil and gas industry for their support to the FCT in the fight against the pandemic.

Mele Kyari who led the FCT delegation on a tour of the 70 bed hospital, which includes 10 Intensive Care Units, commended the FCT Administration for its efforts in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in the territory.

NCDC Clears the Air on Malaria and Coronavirus

The Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Iheakweazu, yesterday spoke on the differences between the ravaging viral disease, COVID-19 and Malaria.

This comes after the chairman of DAAR communications, Raymond Dokpesi who was discharged from an Isolation center in Abuja on Thursday, asked what the differences were because according to him, all the drugs given to him at the Isolation center were anti-malaria drugs.

Dokpesi said: ”I still have doubts in my mind. I still want to be properly educated. What is the difference between COVID-19 which is a virus and Malaria which is caused by mosquitos because every medication we were given was Malaria medication. Some people, before they were told they were COVID-19 positive, they were tested in reputable laboratories and hospitals in Abuja and what they found was that they had a lot of malaria parasites in their bloodstream. So when did malaria become synonymous to COVID-19?”

A reporter at the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 threw this question to the NCDC boss and he said: ”I think we all know COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus, Malaria is caused by a parasite. They are completely different diseases.

“However, many diseases present exactly the same way in the beginning, Yellow fever presents the same way with fever at the beginning, Lassa the same way, malaria the same way. So, the initial presentation of a febrille illness is similar across diseases. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 so what clinicians do is to manage your symtoms so that your body recovers as quickly as possible.

“You can have Malaria and COVID-19. That you have COVID-19 doesn’t prevent you from having Malaria and if you are in a hospital for one month, you could definitely be co-infected by both of them. So, there are many reasons why people receive similar treatments but they are two completely different diseases with different pathogenesis.”

Sadiya Umar Farouq: FG Not Spending N679m Daily on School Feeding
 the federal government has refuted claims suggesting that it was spending N679 million daily on the national school feeding programme.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq made the denial while speaking yesterday at the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja.

The minister insisted that programme, which is funded by the federal government was being implemented by the state governments and facilitated by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.

She said the modified programme was targeted at heads of the households, the guardians and the caregivers, of the children in primary school one to three.

Farouq said the government was not spending N679 million per day as alluded to by the report.

She put the take-home ration which each household was to receive at N4,200 and planned as a monthly COVID-19 intervention for 3, 131,971 households in the participating states of the Federation.

“When the federal government ordered the closure of schools across the country in order to help flatten the curve on the COVID-19, it interrupted the school feeding programme, which is one of our cardinal projects as a government and which preceded the COVID-19 outbreak, “she said.

She added that because the programme was already ongoing food vendors had already been contacted and mobilised for the project.

“We’re also mindful of the fact that most vendors having mobilised had made purchases preparatory to the project as official. It was not just possible to ask them for a refund. This had been done before the schools calendar was disrupted.

In light of this the, dimension demanding a refund will be cumbersome and unrealistic.

So the ministry went into consultation with Nigeria Governors’ Forum in line with the directive of Mr. President, who talked about modalities on how to continue with the programme despite that that the schools are closed and especially because of the expatiating challenges posed by this COVID-19.

“That was how we arrived at the modified school feeding programme of taking food rations into the households of these children,” Farouq said.

On how the government got its data on children at home, she said: “When children are enrolled in schools,  the registration process has a detailed register which contains the address of parents and guardians of every people and is kept with the school as well as the class teachers. We also obtained those from SUBEB and other sources.

“Also in the community where these are children live, every child’s home can be easily identified by members of that community and management of these schools. So, to ensure full transparency so that the programme is not compromised, we are submitting a full list of all the vendors to the EFFC and let me also state here that these vendors have been in the system since 2016. So we are using existing structure is not a whole new program that were enrolling now.

“We have also invited other agencies of government including the DSS, EFFC, ICPC code of conduct and a host of NGOs and CSOs to help us monitor. I’m sure you agree with me yesterday, you must have noticed a large number of people participating in the process or in the flag off because we engage as many stakeholders as possible to be part of that being very mindful of the social distance guideline.

“I’m going into some light in order to disapprove some misinformation and misunderstanding around modified programme and to ask Nigerians to support this for active intervention designed to keep our children fed during this pandemic, So that objective of this National home work school feeding programme is not compromised.”

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