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FG secures life insurance cover for 5,000 frontline workers on COVID-19

Osagie Ehanire


• PTF Warns Coronavirus Will Ravage Nigerians If She Fails To Follow Single National Response 
The Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on COVID-19 has received a life insurance cover for frontline workers for a maximum of 5,000 health workers employed to fight against the pandemic. The premium in the sum of N112, 500, 000 for the cover has been fully paid by the Nigerian insurance industry in line with the principle of No Premium, No Cover. Meanwhile, the taskforce has warned that coronavirus would ravage Nigerians and the economy if the country fails to have a single coordinated national response. 

Chairman of the taskforce and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the daily press conference in Abuja, noted that the PTF was working assiduously with state governors to actualise the objective. 

The SGF, who recalled that the PTF had embarked on the assessment of the readiness in nine states, said the taskforce has strengthened collaboration with the states and would be fine-tuning the directions and advisories to effectively guide the states and for uniformity of approach. Mustapha said the Federal Ministry of Health, in conjunction with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and health sector professional bodies, have signed an MOU for various allowances and other incentives for the frontline health workers.  He commended the insurance industry for the gesture and called on others sectors of the economy to rise up to support the efforts to fight COVID-19.

Mustapha stated that food security and self-sufficiency remain important to our national life while urging all farmers to begin to prepare for their return to the farms as the planting season sets in, adding that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has put in place arrangements for access to farm inputs, extension and others services. On his part, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, noted that government has deployed the COVID-19 starter-packs to all tertiary health institutions and Federal Medical Centres (FMCs) to complement what was earlier sent to the states, adding that the starter-packs consist of medical consumables to ensure that frontline healthcare workers are protected He stated that the high number of new cases was due to ongoing community transmission and active case searches, stressing that the most affected age group from the statistics of tests carried out is 31-40 years, while the highest COVID-19 fatality is among the older generation above 50 years of age. 

Ehanire explained that government’s strategy remains that testing positive is followed by isolation and treatment as needed, while those who require no treatment still need to be in isolation in the interest of the public and their household.  He noted that efforts were on to increase the number of laboratories in the country and stressed the need to improve surveillance, sample collection strategies and transport logistics to laboratories and also reduce the turnaround time for tests. The minister said a laboratory has the capacity to test 1,500 samples per day in 13 laboratories across the country, adding, however, that Nigeria was testing an average of about 600 samples per day, being the samples received at the centres.

“I want to use this opportunity to applaud our frontline health workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. We salute your courage and patriotism, but I urge you to protect yourself as prescribed and use your PPEs judiciously. Do not attempt to treat COVID-19 patient without using adequate PPE or if your institution is not accredited to do so.

“This is important because we need to keep health workers safe at such a time, since we cannot afford the numbers who test positive to COVID-19 and have to go into isolation. Remain vigilant in the line of duty and maintain a high index of suspicion for this disease,” he added. Ehanire appealed to Nigerians to adhere to the advisory on hand and respiratory hygiene, as well as the social distancing directives and use a mask or face covering when they leave their residence, avoid mass gathering and non-essential travels.

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