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COVID-19: Pregnant women, nursing mothers, others shun hospitals —Ehanire

COVID-19: Pregnant women, nursing mothers, others shun hospitals —Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire on Thursday said hospital attendance by pregnant women, nursing mothers and outpatients have reduced by 50 percent, as the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to take its toll on all health services in the country.

The minister stated this on Thursday at the press briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, adding that latest statistics obtained by the Federal Government showed that immunisation services had also reduced by half.

Ehanire, however, said the gradual easing of the lockdown in the country would address the problems.

Qouting statistics from the National Health Management Information System, Ehanire said that while outpatient visits to hospitals dropped from four million to about two million, antenatal visits dropped from 1.3 million to 655,000.

Speaking further, the minister said for skilled birth attendance, there was a “drop from 158,374 to less than 99,000 while immunisation services also reduced to about half.”

The minister said the ministries of health and the Federal Capital Territory met on Thursday and agreed on the need to ensure the delivery of routine services in all hospitals in Nigeria.

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“Latest statistics from the NHMIS indicate that outpatient visits dropped from four million to about two million; antenatal visits from 1.3million to 655,000. Also, skilled birth attendance from 158,374 to less than 99,000 while immunisation services reduced to about half.

“All these failings have yet undetermined consequences, which the easing of the lockdown should hopefully address. However, easing restrictions has to be balanced by citizens complying with protective and prophylactic advisories, and to encourage relatives, friends, neighbours and customers to do the same”, the minister said.

The health minister also revealed that the government would engage state commissioners of health and their workers through an information and communication technology platform to retrain health workers.

He said: “The Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies, particularly the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, have scaled up training in infection prevention and control, case finding and management, emergency patient transport systems, surveillance outbreak response management analysis system.”

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