As COVID-19 cases increase, Nigeria laments inadequate bed spaces, considers home treatment

An Isolation centre in Lagos for COVID-19 patients [PHOTO CREDIT: @jidesanwoolu]
Isolation centre at Landmark, Oniru, Lagos State [PHOTO CREDIT: @jidesanwoolu]

The federal government is considering the option of home-care treatment for COVID-19 patients as some states are running out of bed spaces, an official has said.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known at the daily Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing on Thursday.

Mr Ihekweazu said the country has about 3,500-bed spaces identified as available for COVID-19 patients.

He, however, said more bed spaces will be needed as the number of COVID-19 cases increases in the country

”Concerning the availability of bed spaces for the management of patients, there is no doubt that we are struggling in certain places especially in Lagos State, and to an extent Kano and Abuja. But the biggest challenge right now is in Lagos where bed spaces are really tight.

“Across the country we have about 3,500 bed spaces identified as available for coronavirus but in Lagos, we are already struggling.

“So, we are going to work with them to keep trying to make more spaces available,” he said.

As of April 30, a total of 1,728 persons have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in Nigeria. Although 307 persons have been successfully treated and discharged, 51 deaths have been recorded.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 cases have increased rapidly in the past week with the country recording its highest daily figure (196) on Wednesday.

New strategy

The NCDC boss said there are considerations of home treatment in certain circumstances.

“But ultimately, we might have to change that strategy a little bit and start considering homecare in certain circumstances where – firstly you are able to provide a room where a patient can be managed sufficiently and secondly, we are able to support the care by enabling healthcare workers to come there.

”We will always be honest with Nigerians. We are struggling at the moment and we might have to adapt our strategies because of the realities we face.

“Over the next few days and weeks, and as we do that, we will make that clear to Nigerians.

“Our policy hasn’t changed but the pressure is there and that might have to change in the next few days,” he said.

Adequate facilities

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, appealed to individuals and group of persons who own properties, especially hotels, to make them available for use in cases of an emergency.

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He said the country needs adequate facilities to isolate and treat persons confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 virus.

He also said additional manpower has been brought in from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), to assist in containing the community transmission of the virus.

“Bed spaces and isolation centres at state level need to match the increase and necessitates an appeal to all citizens, especially property and hotel owners, to recognize the imminent needs and the social responsibility of working with state governments to make facilities available for temporary use in emergency situations.

“It is of concern to us all that everything should not be left to government alone. We must all take collective ownership of the health and wellbeing of our citizens,” he said.

Mr Ehanire noted that primary health care workers and community mobilisers would be trained to identify new cases and drive demand for COVID-19 testing.

“This ensures that health services provision does not suffer at the primary health care level, but also that health workforce remains safe. NPHCDA will anchor community engagement and mobilisation for COVID-19,” he said.


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