Many COVID-19 deaths due to late referral from private facilities -Minister

Angela Onwuzoo

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has blamed private health facilities in the country for the death of many COVID-19 patients.

Mamora, while speaking at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, accused private facilities of referring patients to approved treatment centres late.

The minister said, “The report that many of those who died reported late for treatment at the approved centres because they were referred late from private facilities is alarming.

“We, therefore, once again seize this opportunity to urge healthcare practitioners to promptly send all suspected cases for testing and when positive, refer them to isolation centres for treatment.

“Attempting to treat suspected or confirmed cases not only exposes the health workers in such a facility to risk of infection but also denies the patient early access to effective treatment in an approved treatment centre.”

According to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, so far, 101,331 cases of the global pandemic have been confirmed in the country, with 80,491 persons treated and discharged; and 1,361 deaths recorded.

Mamora said testing rate in the last few weeks had increased, adding that the Federal Government will continue to engage states to scale up their case finding and testing.

“We are working to meet our target of testing two million Nigerians within the shortest period.

“​So far, we have tested a total of 1,025,560 people with a positivity rate of 9.8 percent.

“The result from the tests conducted on prospective National Youth Service Corps members has incontrovertibly confirmed that no part of the country is free from COVID-19 disease.

“We safely and comfortably draw this conclusion because corps members are mobilised from all the states of the country for each of the orientation camps.

“With the increased number of confirmed cases, the number of active cases has increased. As of today, we have 18,699 active cases on treatment both in facility and in the community using the treatment protocols.

“Many of the active cases may require care in one of the treatment or isolation centres thus imposing enormous burden on our facilities”, the minister said.

Mamora noted that the plan of the Federal Government regarding activation of oxygen availability in states is on course with a view to effecting immediate repairs of non-functional oxygen plants.

He urged Nigerians to observe all non-pharmaceutical measures to prevent the spread of the viral infection as the country awaits the vaccines.

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