COVID-19 : The last one year has revealed the spirit of sacrifice and public service of Nigerians – Mr Boss Mustapha

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REMARKS BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON COVID-19 FOR MONDAY, 1st March, 2021
​I welcome you to the National Briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) for, Monday, 1st March, 2021.
2.​Saturday, 27th February, 2021, marked a major mile stone for the National Response to COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. It marked the one-year anniversary of the index case in our country.
3.​Twelve months down the road, a lot had happened worldwide and particularly in our country. The statistics before that date (27/February/2020) stood at zero, while One year down the line, we had the following:
Cases: 155,076
Discharged: 132,566
Tested: 1,485,103
Fatalities: 1902
Case Fatality Ratio: 1.2
4.​On behalf of the President, Government and people of Nigeria, I offer our deep condolences to the families and associates of all those that have unfortunately lost their lives in the battle against the virus. The memory of the loss of lives remains sobering but shall continue to propel us in the battle to overcome the pandemic. While we congratulate those that have survived, we pray that the souls of the departed continue to rest in peace.
5.​The last one year has revealed the strength of collaboration and the positive spirit of sacrifice and public service inherent in Nigerians. The unity of purpose demonstrated through the financial, material and technical support have been phenomenal. The successes recorded are directly attributable to the strong support received.
6.​I also wish to publicly acknowledge with thanks, the support of private and public entities including-CACOVID; NNPC, CBN, corporate organisations, the security agencies, all MDAs, airlines, the Armed Forces, etc. Particularly, I wish to make a special mention of all media organisations for communicating the risks and the messages. You have been more than wonderful.
7.​The support of the international community and development partners has proven that their friendship with Nigeria is real, for good times and difficult times. We do not take this for granted.
8.​The frontline workers, particularly the medical personnel are strongly acknowledged. The PTF notes that several frontline workers got infected in their line of duty. Your sacrifices shall, however, never go unrecognized.
9.​Despite the challenges, the PTF wishes to commend the National Response as successful. At inception, the primary aim was to strengthen the health system to withstand this and other pandemics, slow down the spread and minimize the fatalities. We have reasonably achieved these objectives and more.
10. Accomplishments in one year of our National Response include, but not limited to the following:
​POLICY DECISIONS:
✓ Consistent engagement with and information dissemination to Nigerians;
✓ Development of Multi-Sectoral National Response Strategy
✓ Balancing lives and livelihood in our decisions
✓ Introduction of Non-Pharmaceutical measures
✓ Issuing the Health Protection Regulation
HUMAN CAPACITY BUILDING
✓ Raising surge teams for deployment to states
✓ Introducing IPC policy introduction in medical facilities
✓ Training Medical Personnel (in-person and on-line)
BUILDING THE INFRASTRUCTURE:
✓ 132 Labs established;
✓ Primary Health care System revived;
✓ ICU facilities upgraded;
✓ Establishment of the National Ambulance service;
✓ Building Oxygen infrastructure;
✓ Building Treatment Centres with a combined total of 7000 bed spaces;
✓ Upgrading and Mapping the Assets at the Federal Tertiary Health Institutions
✓ Tracking those assets under the control of the States
SUPPORT TO SUB-NATIONALS
✓ PPEs
✓ Critical Commodities
✓ One Billion Naira to each of 34 States and FCT
✓ Ten Billion to Lagos
✓ Five Billion to Kano
BUILDING COLLABORATION:
✓ Private Sector;
✓ CBN-CACOVID
✓ NNPC
✓ International Community
✓ Nigerian Governors Forum
✓ National Assembly;
✓ Armed Forces
✓ Other Security Agencies
✓ Traditional, Community and Religious Leaders
✓ Labour Leaders
✓ Youth Leaders
TESTING AS A STRATEGY
➢ Testing of 1.5 million citizens
➢ Sero-Surveillance Survey
➢ 450/774 Testing all over the country
BUILDING OTHER SUPPORT CAPACITY
➢ Home based care support through the Guidelines
➢ Building capacity for and providing Psycho social Support
RECALIBRATION OF THE ECONOMY
➢ Economic Sustainability Plan
➢ Support to the Manufacturing Industry
➢ Prioritising the SMSEs for local production
➢ Eased Reopening of the Economy
➢ Creation of the International Travel Portal to prevent importation
➢ Reopening of the Education Sector
WEST AFRICA/ ECOWAS
➢ President BUHARI as the ECOWAS COVID Champion
➢ Air Lift of drugs and Equipment distributed to other ECOWAS Countries
➢ Working on a joint regional economic Response
➢ One additional airlift and distribution coming up shortly
TRANSPARENCY AND ACOUNTABILITY
➢ Prudent Management of RESOURCES
➢ Donated Items Register
➢ Building of two transparency web portals with the support of the NESG and the UNDP
12.​With respect to the pandemic control, there are still very critical challenges. These include:
✓ The Second Wave and Virulent variants
✓ Rising number of cases detected since November, 2020
✓ Rising fatalities
✓ Increasing need for Oxygen
✓ Scepticism and denial
✓ Abandonment of responsibility of managing other ailments by medical facilities and attendant consequences
✓ The fear of Stigmatisation
✓ Sub-National Recalcitrance
✓ Enforcement of the provisions of the Executive Order
✓ Fake news
✓ Managing the land borders
✓ Increasing cases of non-compliance with protocols by in-bound travellers
✓ Increasing cases of fake PCR certificates
13.​Ladies and gentle, with the arrival of vaccines, we have entered the phase of the NPIs plus vaccines phase of the National Response. As you have all heard, we shall receive four million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines tomorrow Tuesday, 2nd march, 2021 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.
14.​This development offers a huge ray of hope that comes with its own challenges and responsibilities for all Nigerians. We must all be prepared to take responsibility. The following facts are germane.
✓ The development of Vaccines is a ray of hope is a welcome development
✓ Vaccines alone cannot be a solution
✓ Accessing vaccines has been strategic and deliberate
✓ Vaccines coming to Nigeria shall be safe and efficacious
✓ The PTF is coordinating while the FMOH/NPHCDA are directly implementing using existing infrastructure and skills set
✓ The required Vaccines Strategy Steering Committee has been set up by the HM Health
✓ The administration of vaccines shall be prioritised in a strategic manner beginning with health sector frontline workers and strategic leadership
✓ Over 2021 and 2022, we aim to vaccinate 70% of the population.
15.​The achievement of core objectives behind the aforementioned germane facts on vaccines shall remain farfetched if we fail to overcome the following:
i. Vaccines Hesitancy and scepticism
ii. Elite resistance
iii. Possible emergence of unauthorised or fake vaccines
iv. Collaboration and support from sub-nationals
v. Double Registration and fake Information
vi. Security
16.​The Hon. Minister of State, Health, the DG (NCDC), the NIM and the ED-NPHCDA shall now bring up technical updates on developments.
17.​I thank you for listening.
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