The Nigerian economy has been badly hit by the crippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning with the extreme drop of fuel prices bringing a major drop to the revenue, the health sector has also not been spared from this as the Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire pointed out on Thursday that there has been a huge drop in visitations to hospitals by pregnant women, nursing mothers and other outpatients.

The Minister of Health stated this on Thursday at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, said that latest statistics obtained by the Federal Government showed that pregnant women and other outpatients’ visits to hospitals had dropped by half.

He also said “immunisation services had reduced by half”.

Ehanire, however, said the gradual easing of the lockdown in the country would address the problems.

At the PTF press briefing on Thursday, Ehanire quoted figures from the National Health Management Information System.

He said that while outpatient visits to hospitals dropped from four million to about two million, antenatal visits dropped from 1.3 million to 655,000.

The minister said for skilled birth attendance, there was a “drop from 158,374 to less than 99,000 while immunisation services also reduced to about half.”

The minister said the ministries of health and the Federal Capital Territory met on Thursday and agreed on the need to ensure the delivery of routine services in all hospitals in Nigeria.

He also noted while talking about immunization, “Latest statistics from the NHMIS indicate that outpatient visits dropped from four million to about two million; antenatal visits from 1.3million to 655,000. Also, skilled birth attendance from 158,374 to less than 99,000 while immunisation services reduced to about half.

“All these failings have yet undetermined consequences, which the easing of the lockdown should hopefully address. However, easing restrictions has to be balanced by citizens complying with protective and prophylactic advisories, and to encourage relatives, friends, neighbours and customers to do the same.”

The health minister reiterated that the government would engage state commissioners of health and their workers through an information and communication technology platform to retrain health workers.

He said, “The Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies, particularly the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, have scaled up training in infection prevention and control, case finding and management, emergency patient transport systems, surveillance outbreak response management analysis system.”

Although Nigeria recorded its COVID-19 index case on February 27, as of Wednesday, no fewer than 4, 971 persons had been diagnosed with the deadly virus.

Also, out of the figure, 1,070 patients have successfully treated and discharged, while 164 have died.

The virus has killed pregnant women in states such as Ekiti, Jigawa and Ogun. On April 22, a 29-year-old pregnant woman, who sneaked into Ekiti State from Lagos State, died of the virus.

On May 3, the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta confirmed that the virus killed a pregnant woman in the hospital on May 1.

On May 4, the Jigawa State Commissioner for Health, Abba Zakari, said a pregnant woman died of coronavirus at the Dutse Isolation Centre.

Source: The Punch

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