The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on Thursday said he went to China on the invitation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) as one of the top 10 global health leaders selected to learn how China is handling the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Dr. Ihekweazu also contended that Nigerians should rather be proud of his trip to China because the things he learnt there were already impacting on the way the country was responding to the disease.
The NCDC boss, had been in self-isolation since his return to the country.
Ihekweazu, who spoke via Skype on Silverbird TV on Thursday, said: “I was one of the ten global health leaders invited by the World Health Organisation to visit China. It is very important to learn from a country that is dealing with the virus. From 5000 cases a day to 100 cases.
“It is a new virus and we have to understand the new signs, response and different aspect of how the country has organised itself and its 1.5 billion people living there. I learnt a lot and what I learnt has an influence on what we are doing in Nigeria.
“I was surprised about the brouhaha around my trip. I thought Nigeria should be proud that I was invited to be part of that mission and contribute to the most important event happening in the world today.
“The most important finding out of our mission is how China has mobilised the entire country. This is not what has been left to the China CDC or the ministry of health.
“The entire country has been mobilised to recognise that this is not only as a threat to health but as a threat to their economy, life and the existence of the country and therefore everyone is mobilised to carry out the control measure that government has said is necessary to control its outbreak in China.
“Nigeria has remained lucky but in as much as we still have flights coming in every day, we have suspect cases every day. Two days ago, we tested a couple who arrived at the Abuja airport but tested negative. It reminds us that there is a threat every day and we have to keep being prepared and all of the society must respond.”
Speaking on claims by a former Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu, that he has a possible ‘cure’ to COVID-19, Ihekweazu said: “I don’t want to comment on the specific issue but I want to explain to Nigerians how drug discovery works. You can’t discover a drug for a disease that does not exist.
“We just found out this new virus some two months ago. You can’t find drugs if you don’t have cases. So, we can only test new therapeutics i.e. drugs in an environment where there are cases because you have to carry out a clinical trial which happens in four stages. I think the era of sitting in your village and coming up with drugs has really gone.”
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...
SPECIAL REPORT: Illegal miners degrade Ekiti community, engage in child labour
The activities of illegal miners in a community in Ekiti State have caused degradation of the environment, as miners engage...
SPECIAL REPORT: Inside the illegal trading of forest woods in Cross River community
“With a N20,000 bribe, an external buyer can influence the youth in host communities , Cross River State, to cut...