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What Nigeria Needs To Overcome COVID-19 – NCDC

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, says continued solidarity and adherence to public health and social measures are the actions needed to be able to overcome the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Director-General of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said this on Saturday in a statement signed by Ms. Omobolaji Oduwole, the Centre’s Head of Communications, to mark one year of COVID-19 response in Nigeria.

Recall that in February 2020, Nigeria detected her first case of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

However, Ihekweazu said: “In 2020, our country truly united in solidarity against the virus. The impact of this has been obvious from small personal gestures such as sharing foodstuff, to collaboration on research and innovation – to regional and pan-African collaboration.

“Despite the best efforts of government, it will take time to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19.

“We must keep adhering to the public health and social measures that keep each and all of us safe. This means physical distancing, wearing face masks, practicing hand and respiratory hygiene, and avoiding crowded indoor places.”

The statement revealed that Nigeria’s response to the pandemic has been led by science and driven by the power of coordination, collaboration, and solidarity across federal and state governments, partners, the private sector, and citizens.

“Prior to the confirmation of the first case in Nigeria, NCDC with support from its partners began preparedness activities.

“The NCDC began working with states and hospitals to map out and establish isolation and treatment centres for managing COVID-19 cases.

“In addition to this, NCDC began training health workers across all states in case management, infection prevention control (IPC), surveillance, risk communication and other areas of epidemic preparedness and response.

“The agency also began to preposition medical supplies such as personal protective equipment to all states. Importantly, NCDC developed preparedness guidelines and plans that incorporated an all-inclusive ‘One Health’ approach.

“In the last one year, NCDC has been working under the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF-COVID-19) chaired by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha. This has enabled a multi-sectoral response to the pandemic, which has affected multiple facets of Nigeria’s economy.

“The NCDC has led Nigeria’s public health response to the pandemic. This includes establishing and scaling up capacity for COVID-19 testing, surveillance activities, developing public health guidelines, as well as providing technical support to states,” it read.

Continuing, the statement added: “The pandemic also provided the opportunity to rapidly scale up Nigeria’s public health infrastructure. One of these is with the establishment of more than 70 public health laboratories across the country; with at least one public health laboratory for COVID-19 testing in each state.

“The recent report of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo is a reminder that outbreaks will continue to emerge. This emphasises the need for continued investment in health security at the national and state levels.

“We are grateful to health workers across the country, including State Public Health Teams, for their hard work, commitment, and dedication in the fight against COVID-19.

“We also thank our partners for their support. Finally, we thank the Federal and State governments for their leadership and investment in health security.

“Unfortunately, during this pandemic, many have lost their loved ones and means of livelihood. The economy has equally been affected. However, we must remember our resilience and strength as a country.

“We cannot afford to give up now and must continue to Take Responsibility – whether as individuals, organisations, or government.

“As our sister agency, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) prepares to lead the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in Nigeria, NCDC will work in solidarity with them to ensure a successful campaign.

“As the country’s public health institute, our focus remains to contribute to stronger health systems, to serve Nigerians into the future.”

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