As part of its ongoing efforts to fight the rampaging Coronavirus (COVID-19), the federal government has announced that it is making plans to locally produce medical equipment to cater for the case in the country.
The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said this at the Presidential Task Force briefing in Abuja on Friday.
He said the move had become necessary in view of the global shortages of medical supplies for COVID-19 response, due to high demand by all countries.
Data from worldometer.info, as of Friday, showed that the global number of COVID-19 cases had crossed the one million mark.
Nigeria has recorded 190 cases of the disease, out of which 20 people have been discharged after recovering from the virus, while two have died.
Mr Ehanire said discussions are ongoing with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria to explore potentials for local production of medical consumables.
“Directors of the Fed. Ministry of Health had discussions with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments and with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, to explore potentials for local production of medical consumables such as face masks, gloves, sanitisers, and even equipment like ventilators.
“This is in view of looming global shortages of medical supplies for response, due to high demand by all countries.
“Clinical trials and other processes are ongoing to validate therapeutics for COVID-19 treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said about 6,700 contacts of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria had been traced.
Ihekweazu noted that people graduate out of contact-tracing after 14 days if they showed no symptoms of the virus.
He said all the focus of the agency for this week had been to improve the levels of contact tracing, by taking advantage of the lockdown.
“In Lagos State, the lockdown has been especially helpful for our contact tracing,” he noted.