COVID-19: Many educated, rich Nigerians dying due to self-medication, says FG/ Ehanire

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says it is unfortunate that many educated and well-to-do Nigerians have died from COVID-19 in the recent times due to self-medication at home instead of visiting hospitals accredited for the treatment of the virus.

Disclosing this on Tuesday during the daily briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 in Abuja, Ehanire who explained the Federal Government was disturbed by the development, enjoined those infected with the virus to seek appropriate medical attention.

The health minister observed that while Nigeria’s death rate from the novel disease is low compared to many countries, the fact that a large chunk of those dying are educated raises questions on the level of compliance with safety health guidelines among Nigerians.

He said: “As we learn more about coronavirus every day, we must be ready to adjust our strategy, based on knowledge and evidence. As of Monday, we had sadly recorded 191 deaths in 26 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“Even though this figure seems low compared to other countries, a disturbing picture emerging from the statistics is that not only are most fatalities linked with pre-existing diseases, many are educated, well-to-do people, who chose home-based care, where they develop sudden complications and have to be rushed to hospital.

“Experience is showing that complications in COVID-19 patients can arise with little or no notice. This is an added reason why all persons should seek medical attention when they test positive.”

Warning people against self-medication, Ehanire said the ministry is partnering with relevant agencies in recommending drugs to be used by infected patients.

He added: “On chloroquine, first, we do not at any time or in any way support self-medication. If you hear that anyone is taking medication of any type, it has to be something prescribed by his doctor. There are medicines that should not be in your hands unless they are prescribed by your doctor.

“There are medicines over-the-counter that you can buy. But there are prescription medicines, which you should not have unless your doctor prescribes them.”

He went on to reveal that the ministry of health and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control were assessing isolation centres across the country.

 “We have recently been in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, and Osogbo, Osun State. We will continue providing diagnostic commodities and facilities in collaboration with partners,” he said.