Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Federal Government assured on Monday that, the effects of COVID-19 pandemic in the country notwithstanding, it would continue to strengthen the routine immunisation of other communicable diseases in Nigeria.

The Federal Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, represented by the Minister of State, Olorunnimbe Mamora, gave the assurance Monday in Abuja at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

According to him, the pandemic has further underscored the importance of immunization and vaccination to good health and that strengthening routine immunization shall continue to receive attention especially as Nigeria will receive her polio-free certification this week.

‘We shall not lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 is not the only health challenge faced by our people. We shall, therefore, ensure that routine services are strengthened,’ he said.

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‘Therefore, on Friday, 21st August 2020, I had the pleasure of commissioning 456 Motorcycles and Computers meant to enhance the Routine Immunization Officers ability for supportive supervision of service providers, and support the generation and on-site utilisation of programme data to continuously improve the quality of the immunization programme in Nigeria.’

He also said that as of Monday, August 24, Nigeria has lost over 1,000 persons to COVID-19, with a total of 1002 deaths.

According to him, each one of those persons lost was a family member and a loved one to several people.

While reiterating the importance of adhering to the non-pharmaceutical interventions to curb the virus, the Minister added that Nigeria also recorded 52,227 COVID-19 positive cases out of 379,542 samples tested so far and treated and discharged 38,945 persons

‘As we continue to learn from our experience from managing COVID-19, the need to improve quality of care, health system strengthening and seamless patient evacuation, especially in an emergency situation, has become crucial,’ he said.