Why many rich Nigerians died from COVID-19 – Health Minister


The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has said educated and ‘well-to-do’ Nigerians constitute many of the fatalities from COVID-19 in Nigeria.

Mr Ehanire while speaking at the daily Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday said many of the patients chose home treatment and reported late to care centres.

“A disturbing picture emerging from statistics is that not only are most fatalities observed to be linked with preexisting diseases, many are educated, well-to-do people, who chose home-based care, where they develop sudden complication and have to be rushed to hospital,” he said.

Nigeria’s first COVID-19 death was Suleiman Achimugu, a former Managing Director of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC).

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the victim had underlying medical conditions – multiple myeloma and diabetes – and was undergoing chemotherapy before returning to Nigeria.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) patients with diabetes may be at extra risk for COVID-19 mortality.

The late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, also died from the virus which is ravaging the world.

As of Tuesday night, a total of 192 patients have died out of Nigeria’s 6,401 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Diagnostic commodities

Mr Ehanire said the government will continue to provide diagnostic commodities when needed.

“Experience has continued to show that breathing complication in COVID-19 patients cauterises with little or no notice.

“This is an added reason why all persons should seek medical attention when they test positive.

“We will also continue to provide diagnostic commodities and facilities in collaboration with partners,” he said.

Reporting high cases

Meanwhile, at the briefing, the Director-General of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said reporting more or less COVID-19 cases does not attract support from the federal government to states.

There have been unconfirmed reports of some states distorting the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in order to attract financial support from the federal government.

Mr Ihekweazu however, said there are no benefits to this.

“Whether you report more or less, there is no direct relationship between the number of cases and how much support you get.

“So, I don’t see the benefit of either reporting more or reporting less,” he said.


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