How Nigeria Can Limit COVID-19 Death Rate – Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has explained how Nigeria can reduce the death rate as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Addressing reporters on Thursday in Abuja, he urged Nigerians to see the increase in the number of confirmed cases as a warning that fatalities would increase too.

Ehanire, who spoke at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, however, said there was no cause for alarm as certain measures could be taken to control the death toll.

He noted that a majority of fatalities recorded were over 50 years and those with pre-existing ailments such as diabetes, cancer, and hypertension, among others.

The minister urged the people to specially protect those who fall in such groups, adding that they should be encouraged to stay at home to limit them from getting exposed to COVID-19.

He stressed the need for them to wear face masks once outside their houses, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed.

According to Ehanire, such categories of people must observe all other non-pharmaceutical advisories, including frequent hand washing, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and use of sanitiser among others.

He urged them to avoid going to market, worship centres, and places where there can be a crowd.
The minister advised all persons in the vulnerable group who tested positive to immediately go to a treatment centre, in their own interest.

He warned that by staying at home, complications could arise easily and suddenly, especially at a time when there would be no immediate help available.

Read the full text of the minister’s remarks at the PTF briefing below:



The Nigeria Center for Disease Control yesterday announced 587 new confirmed covid-19 cases, increasing the total tally to 17,735. We have treated and discharged 5,967 persons and 469 persons have sadly been lost to the disease.
We have said that the increasing number of cases should be a warning that fatalities will increase too; but there are measures we can take, to limit case fatality rate.

1  Since majority of fatalities are over 50 years of age, or have pre-existing ailments like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, HIV, etc, this group of citizens has to be specially protected.

2  This protection begins with limiting their exposure to risks of covid19 infection by urging stay at home, except there is urgent and dire need to go out.

3  To wear a face mask or a covering at any time, once outside the house, or when inside the house with persons who may have been exposed.

4  To observe all other non-pharmaceutical advisory, like frequent hand washing, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, sanitizer use, etc.

5  I must emphasize that going to places where there can be a crowd, like market or also places of worship carries risk of increased exposure.  l also stress that being in a closed room increases the risk of exposure to infection in proportion to the number of people and the length of time spent with them, because the likelihood of presence of a positive person increases with the number and infection with time of exposure.

6  All persons in the vulnerable group who test positive should go to a treatment center immediately, in their own best interest. A vuln5person is not among those who should risk staying at home, because complications can arise easily and suddenly or at an odd hour of the day or night when there will be no immediate help available.

7  Any person who tested positive and opted to stay home or elsewhere should move to a treatment centre at the first sign of fever or shortness of breath. A delay can be fatal because the disease progression can be unpredictable and faster than imagined.

8  Witherspoon these important measures, we could mitigate the fatality rate. The novel coronavirus is still among us and is infecting people daily, including prominent members of the society.

Friends and family have an increasingly important role to play in helping to guide compliance with this advisory. Till it goes away, whenever that is, we must take extreme precaution when going to public places.

I also had the honour yesterday, of joining Mr. President at the China-Africa Extraordinary Summit on Solidarity Against the COVID-19 pandemic, where the desirability of sharing knowledge from research and experience was emphasized, as PTF Chair has reported. This is of value to us because China has considerable experience with covid19.

​Earlier yesterday, I signed a bilateral agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on cooperation in the area of public health and medical sciences.

The agreement is to start cooperation between both countries in these areas:

(a) Exchanging experience in public health and health sciences
(b) Facilitation of visits by scientists and Exchanging information in research.

​On Monday, 15th June, 2020, I inaugurated the governing council of the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria, where the Council was charged to refocus aspects of the profession to meet up with the realities of today as the Covid-19 Pandemic has brought medicine security to the fore front.

​We have updated the case management guidelines with reviewed changes like discharge criteria and medication used for the treatment of cases. Our treatment centres will be getting an advisory to test applicability of a drug recently repurposed and found effective for treatment of COVID-19

The engagement of States and support for them in management of covid19 will continue to increase with increased capacity building.

The Ministry of Health will also be prioritizing the procurement of oxygen generators alongside ventilators as our experience so far shows that oxygen supplementation is in high demand in treatment.

Thank you for your attention.

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