Why FG should be transparent in COVID-19 drugs administered on discharged patients

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As the fight to stem COVID-19 pandemic reaches crescendo, the need for transparency in the treatment administered on discharged cases of the disease in Nigeria should transcend from obscurity to openness.

Inasmuch as Nigerians are delighted at the towering number of discharged covid-19 cases after successfully testing negative to the pandemic with total recovery cases amounting to 2174 as at 23rd May 2020, what has remained perpetually opaque on the side of government is the treatment given to the discharged COVID-19 cases so far.

Testimonies are replete in some media touting both local(herbal) and foreign medicines such as black seed, a combination of drugs like Zinc sulphate and Vitamin C, Azithromycin, Chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine and the Madagascar COVID-19 Organic as a cure to coronavirus.

Among the number of prominent COVID-19 survivals testimonies, was the Chairman of DAAR communication Limited, Raymond Dokpesi Jnr who tested negative to COVID-19, stated that “With praise and glory to Almighty God, I started feeling immediate improvement in my wellbeing once the combination of azithromycin, chloroquine and zinc were administered to me by Wednesday, 29th April, 2020”.

In another vein, the executive Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Bala, authorized the chloroquine treatment for COVID-19.

The Governor who was reported to be the index case of COVID-19 in Bauchi State and has long recovered, said he was treated with “chloroquine and Zithromax.”

Similarly, the testimony from the executive Governor of Oyo State on April 6th through his official Twitter handle expressed on how he recovered from COVID-19. He disclosed that consumed Vitamin C, carrots and black seed oil mixed with honey were used to boost its immune system to overcome the virus while in isolation.

In the United State of American one the country worst hit by the virus, the president of the United States of American, Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 pandemic in spite of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visible opposition to the personal use of the drug as treatment.

They advised that hydroxychloroquine should only be used as a coronavirus treatment in hospital settings, due to “reports of serious heart rhythm problems” in virus patients who had received the drug.

Sean Conley, Trump’s doctor also made a statement in support of hydroxychloroquine which read: “After numerous discussions he and I had regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relevant risks.”

However, in sharp contrast, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the head, PTF on COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Boss Mustapha in his address at May 21st briefing of the PTF, spoke on issue of chl‘oroquine, relative to self-medication: “Through the surveillance system set up by the PTF, we have received reports that Nigerians have been purchasing hydrxoychloroquine in large quantities.”

Earlier, 15th May the PTF in it response to the statement of prominent Nigerian Covid-19 survivals warned testimonials to stop making public the treatment used in recovery from COVID-19 to avoid the danger of self medication.

“An emerging issue from all these testimonies is the issue of prescription for treatments. We should always remember that the symptoms of COVID-19 mimic some illnesses we already know but treating the symptoms is not the same as treating the virus. For this reason, we strongly discourage self-medication,” Mustapha said.

Looking keenly into the matrix of public health communication, clearer health messages are likely understood than unclear ones. To this is end, the federal government needed to be more transparent concerning the administration of the treatment of COVID-19 discharged cases.

The Nigerian people have the right to know what measure of medication that has obviously worked efficiently on the number of pandemic recovery cases in the country.

Here, a coordinated collection of treatments procedures data across isolation centres in Nigerian should be made known clearly to nipped the danger of continuous spread of unverified testimonies from COVID-19 survivals.

The federal government, through the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19; Ministry of Health,  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) and other agencies should take the front stage in making available covid-19 treatment as more states are calling for home treatment.

Obviously clarity on the part of the Nigeria government would have doused these uncertainties surrounding the treatment of COVID-19 discharged cases. As a popular expression will have it, ‘fact is the antidote for rumour”, the Nigeria government owe Nigerians transparency regarding the treatment that has been administered on the COVID-19 recovered cases across the country.

Importantly, to ease the crisis of lack of bed spaces for confirmed cases in isolation centres and the plan to consider ‘home care treatment’ model according to the Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu hinted during the Thursday 23rd May, PTF briefing. The need to outline a well articulated, tested, and trusted  treatment procedures made available to the public with it prescription should be considered by the Federal Government.

As seen in other countries, authorized Nigeria agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) should further embrace smarter technologies to speed up the development of a cure and vaccine for the virus, fasten treatment trials process in order to put an end to the ravaging negative effect of the pandemic.

The need has become more pressing following the unprecedented race to COVID-19 vaccine and cure across the world, Nigerians eagerly await the outcome of COVID-19 unconfirmed cures put forward by Professor Maurice Uwu and his team, the group of pharmacists from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, led by Professor Haruna Kaita, Professor Ayodele Adeleke, Dr Ben Amodu(his ‘Saabmal covid-19’ treatment), Mr. Olajuwon Okubena(his Jobelyn Herbal formula) and NAFDAC verification of the  Madagascar Covid-organic, among others.

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