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Hydroxychloroquine for treatment: Nigeria differ with Trump on drug

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THE use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of Coronavirus infection as strongly posited by the United States President, Donald Trump, has received some knocks from the Nigerian Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 team. 

  The PTF team has dismissed claims that hydroxychloroquine can be used to prevent COVID-19 disease, saying that a study on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine on the virus is still being carried out.

  Disclosing this during the COVID-19 PTF daily briefing on Tuesday, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire pointed out that hydroxychloroquine should only be taken on doctor’s prescription, dismissing claims by the US president, Donald Trump, on the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as the preventive  COVID-19 drug.

  Both the health minister, Ehanire and the Director-general of NCDC, Chike Ihekweazu, warned Nigerians not to listen to the US president’s claims on hydroxychloroquine, cautioning Nigerians not to engage in self-medication.

  According to the Health Minister, “though the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 was carrying out a study on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, the medicine has not been approved for the treatment of the virus.”

  Expressing concerns over citizen’s indulgence on self-medication, he emphasised that Kogi State has done only one Covid-19 test and cannot be relied upon on their statistics.

  He expressed fears on state governments engaging in denial of coronavirus while warning the populace to as a matter of necessity desist from self-medication, noting that the hydroxychloroquine should only be taken based on doctor’s prescription.

  “About hydroxychloroquine; first, we do not at any time and in any way support self-medication and if you heard that any person is taking medication of any type, it is obviously something prescribed by his doctor,” the minister said.

  Adding, “there are medicines that normally shouldn’t be in your hands unless it was prescribed by a doctor. There are medicines called OTC (over the counter), you can buy it yourself, it can be Panadol, Aspirin, any kind of rubs, anything for cough. “

  In his contribution, the NCDC DG, Ihekweazu said the PTF would only comment on what President Muhammadu Buhari said and not what President Trump and any other presidents said.

  Meanwhile, the task force on the fight against COVID-19 in Imo on Monday, declared that the state is now coronavirus free. Before now, the Southeast state had seven active cases of the dreaded disease.

  It will be recalled that federal government revealed number of local government areas with most COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, insisting that tough decisions have to be taken.

  Briefing journalists in Owerri, the state chairman of the committee, Professor Maurice Iwu explained that three out of the cases recorded in the state were discharged on Sunday, May 17 following their satisfactory condition.

  Report says, Iwu’s experience as a well-respected Nigerian professor of pharmacognosy and a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was sought by the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma to help the state tackle the viral disease.

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