NIGERIAN health officials have warned that the federal government is running out of bed spaces at isolation centres as the growing number of people affected by coronavirus is overwhelming the amount of available facilities.
At the moment, Nigeria has 3,912 cases of coronavirus, of which there have been 117 deaths, with Lagos State accounting for the highest number of casualties. Despite the fact that most states have opened isolation centres where the infected can be quarantined for the mandatory 14 days, the number of cases is growing at a faster rate than the authorities had anticipated.
With the easing of the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, the numbers are expected to soar in the coming weeks. Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has warned that some states were already experiencing difficulties accommodating patients in their over-burdened isolation facilities.
Dr Ihekweazu said:“We are still plus or minus where we are. We have a big challenge on our hands in the country right now, especially in Lagos, Kano and Zamfara and in a few other states where the number of cases currently outweighs the capacity to continue implementing our policy of institutional isolation of all the patients, whether they are asymptotic, mildly symptomatic or severe.
Health minister Dr Osagie Ehanire said the ministry and other organs of government were seeking measures to check or break transmission of the virus and so control its spread. He added that the ministry had employed tried, tested approaches and is applying innovative measures and guidelines in dealing with Covid-19 pandemic.
On treatment, Dr Ehanire said Nigerian clinicians are participating in the World Health Organisation’s sponsored study to find out the efficacy of certain drugs, including Chloroquine and anti-retroviral drugs. He added that anyone who has developed herbal remedies can approach the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development which would assess such claims before referring them to National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control for certification.