The Federal Government has said that the nation is conscious of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking necessary measures including provision for oxygen facilities as a preventive measure.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said this on Monday in Abuja at the national briefing of the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19.
“Nigeria has so far escaped the worst of COVID-19 and the dire predictions made about us. We may even seem to be doing well, but I wish to emphasize that we must still be on strict preventive alert, because of the COVID-19 third wave that is sweeping across the globe. Cases have been rising in one African country after the other and health systems are getting stressed in countries like Uganda,” Ehanire said.
While saying that the Ministry of Health has been preparing itself to ensure system resilience, he said that Oxygen sufficiency is of high priority, as government observed in countries going through the third wave.
“The Federal Government placed order for 38 Oxygen Generation Plants, one in every State, with Lagos having two, due to its high burden. The Global Fund is funding the repair of 30 non-operational plants, and shall in addition build 12 new oxygen plants, to be so spatially located across Nigeria, in such a way that gaps in supply are filled and health facilities in Nigeria are able to access oxygen less 100km from an oxygen plant.
“Over 420 brand new oxygen cylinders are on order, to support distribution and availability, just along with 12 liquid oxygen tanks of 10,000L each, with vaporizers, to be also stationed where we can refill cylinders easily. This will expand access to oxygen nationwide and make it available to treat patients with other conditions, such as asthma, pneumonia, sickle cell anaemia, among others,” he said.
The minister said that the distribution of PPEs and consumables is on track in the nation’s health facilities to assure health workers of their safety.
He said, “We are strengthening surveillance at the Points of Entry to check importation, particularly of virulent covid strains and be able to identify and get them under control. A team from the Federal Ministry of Health, led by the Director of Public Health, is working closely with Lagos and Ogun State governments to advise the funeral planning committee for a Lagos based cleric, to ensure covid protocols are observers, in anticipation of large turnout.
“We are strongly advising virtual participation. In view of our efforts to limit 3rd wave, self-preservation measures will be needed. We shall be advised by the experience of other countries and take steps to be proactive to contain the third wave,” he added.