Nigeria: Coronavirus - Nigeria May Not Need Many Ventilators for Patients - Minister

COVID-19 Case Update from the Nigeria Centre from Disease Control

Nigeria may not need many ventilators for the treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said

Mr Ehanire while answering questions from journalists, on Monday, agreed that the country does not have enough of the medical equipment needed to stabilise a respiratory distressed patient.

The shortage of ventilators in the country has been a source of concern for many Nigerians including lawmakers and public health experts.

A ventilator, a machine that pumps air in and out of the lungs, is needed to assist some patients to breathe.

COVID-19 is a disease that affects the respiratory system, hence the number of hospitalised patients that would need breathing assistance is likely to also increase if the ailment spikes in Nigeria.

This has been evident in other countries where the aliments are being treated.

However, Mr Ehanire said most of the cases handled so far in the country have been mild and as such the country might not need to stock or purchase respirators to manage patients during the outbreak.

As of Monday night, Nigeria has recorded 131 cases of COVID-1919 and two deaths.

No enough ventilators

Speaking to journalists at the joint national briefing of the Presidential Task Force in Abuja on Monday, the minister said no country has enough ventilators.

"There is no one country in this world that has enough ventilators. You know in one major country we all know, the president of that country (I don't want to mention names) ordered a major automobile company to stop and start manufacturing ventilators.

"Also in other European country, they also ordered them to start because they didn't have enough.

"So for ventilators, we can say we don't have enough. Of all the cases we have had so far, only one actually requires a ventilator, the others didn't require ventilator," he said.

Mr. Ehanire said if the need for ventilator arises, the available ones will be moved to the state where it is needed.

"Like I said, probably just 4 per cent or less of the cases that you get requires ventilator.

"What we have done beyond taking inventory of the ventilators in government hospitals, We have gone far to take inventory of what is in private hospital and they are ready to make them available to us

"We have an arrangement that makes it possible that if you need more ventilators in Abuja we can send them from Lagos.

"If Lagos needs more ventilators, we can bring them from Enugu or anywhere so that we can be able to meet our needs as they are.

"The number of ventilators you have is not exactly what will determine your survival but we have the strategy to be able to carry ventilators from one place to the other," he said.

He said early detection of cases will help patients not get into the state of requiring a ventilator.

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