COVID-19: NMA fumes as FG says 40 health workers test positive

The Minister of Health, Dr  Osagie Ehanire, has said about 40 health workers in the country have tested positive for  coronavirus.

Ehanire, who stated this during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 media briefing in Abuja on Thursday, urged all health workers to remain vigilant.

Also, the Chairman of the Lagos State branch of  the Medical Guild, Dr Oluwajimi Sodipo, said three members of the association at the Alimosho General Hospital and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, had tested positive for COVID-19.

Sodipo, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, said the three doctors had been admitted to different isolation facilities in Lagos for treatment.

He said the medical conditions of the three doctors, who had been exposed to COVID-19 cases, were stable.

Sodipo said this as the Nigerian Medical Association  stated that  its members had been complaining about a shortage of personal protective equipment  in hospitals.

This, it said,  made doctors and other health workers to contract COVID-19.

The health minister had on Wednesday said the Kano molecular laboratory suspended testing because some of its workers tested positive for the virus.

But at the PTF media briefing on Thursday, Ehnaire lauded all  COVID-19 frontline health workers .

He, however, advised them to be cautious and use the PPE to guard against infections.

The minister added 13 laboratories in the country had the capacity to test  1,500 samples per day.

He,  however,  said they were testing an average 600 samples per day because the samples had to be collected and sent to the labs.

He said factors such as  surveillance sample collection and mode of transportation would be improved to increase the tests being conducted in the country.

While stating that the  NCDC had released tracing guidelines to all states to aid findings, Ehanire said that Nigeria had its  style of testing people and would not deviate from the guidelines.

He said initially Nigeria was sending samples to South Africa because of a shortage of reagents.

The minister stated, “Our first option at the beginning was to send our samples to South Africa until we started getting our own reagents and we got the necessary training to be able to do our own testing. Between then and now, we have had 13 laboratories and excess capacity for the laboratories that are functioning.”

He also explained why Nigeria was not doing mass testing as Ghana and South Africa. Ehinaire said, “Our own strategy is to be careful with the reagents by using smart testing. It means testing only in the areas where we can get the yield. Some other countries do blanket testing where you can just drive in and give your sample. Some later learnt that the yield was too small and that they were wasting cartridges. Punch

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