Osagie Ehanire revealed this amid criticisms that the authorities aren’t doing enough to test for the virus in the country.
According to him, the Nigerian government would like to conduct more testing across the nation but increasing the daily tests depends on getting reagents, which is quite difficult at this point.
He added that the notion that one can only contract the virus when an infected person sneezes or coughs is no longer valid, as it is now possible to also be infected when the person speaks or shouts.
His words, “Yes, anytime we see increase in cases, we feel concerned but we are not surprised about it because we look at the capacity of the health system to cope. You may see that in other countries, the figure is getting higher dramatically and more frightening. But in our country, it is not like that. We are hoping and praying that it doesn’t go that way. A good measure of it does not only depend on the government or the Ministry of Health. It depends on all of us to know that there’s no medicine to cure it and there is no vaccine to prevent it. There is need to take measures that will keep us safe that these horrifying figures we see in Europe do not come up in this part of the world.”
“Internationally, there’s a lot of effort going on find a cure but for those of us that studied medicine, we know that viruses is fought by the anti-viruses that your body develops over time. The stronger, able bodied people develop anti-viruses but those who have underlying sicknesses like hypertension, diabetes, etc would be more susceptible.
So, treatment, with regards to medicines and drugs, there’s none that is yet approved. People have tried various antibiotics and anti-retoviral drugs, they are still being tried. We are taking part in the trial by the World Health Organisation, but we do not yet have an answer to the cure. And also we do not yet have a vaccine. Various groups are working on vaccine but the general belief is that we cannot get it in the next 18 months.”
On those saying churches and moques should be reopened, “Yes we are concerned about that. Many believe that if people sneeze or cough into the air, many can become infected. But other stories going on now show that even if someone speaks or shouts, he also release droplets which also could be infectious. So the question of distancing gives more meaning when you look at that kind of scenario.”
“So looking at that, the induction of social distancing is very necessary. In that circumstance, the mask proves very useful as a barrier between you and the other person so that he does not spill any droplet while speaking to you. So it creates mutual protection between you and the next person.
It tends to be a battle trying to beat the system there. But we are sure that with the system being beefed up, the infection and disease will be better managed and the non-pharmaceutical capacity will all improve to control the rate of spread. But I don’t think we’re doing so badly but we’re not doing as well as we will like to do to see a flat curve but we haven’t reached the peak where we can be comfortable. We are not there at all.”
On testing, “Yes, we will like to do more, but a lot of it depends on getting reagents and the very competitive nature of getting the reagents. We hope that in coming weeks, we will get more reagents and, above all, we will start using our gene expert machines which are used to test tuberculosis and can be converted to test coronavirus. In coming weeks, we shall be able to ramp up testing.”
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