Enabulele disclosed that even if several papers have said the country is fully prepared for the deadly virus, he is not very sure because more work needs to be done for the country to reach that stage of preparedness.
According to him, surveillance at all of Nigeria’s borders has to be beefed up and public awareness and participation must also be improved for the nation to deal with this better than they have dealt with Lassa fever.
He added that defined management protocols for suspected cases must be adhered to and tracking modalities put in place for Nigeria to effectively combat the unwanted visitor.
His words, “Since the emergence of Coronavirus in China, over 80,000 cases and 2,800 deaths have so far been recorded globally. About eight Commonwealth countries are affected. They are Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Though the Commonwealth Medical Association considers the increasing spread of the virus quite worrisome, the association appreciates and commends the responses so far shown by affected Commonwealth countries. The association urges the rest of the Commonwealth countries not currently affected by Coronavirus to step up their level of preparedness and to manage this global public health challenge in a crisis mood. They should partner with the National
Medical Associations and other critical stakeholders in their respective countries, and adopt proactive, pragmatic and strategic approaches to prevent or limit the spread of the virus through various preventive and clinical management approaches. In this regard, the CMA remains committed to deploying her resources to help countries in need of her support and services.”
On if Nigeria is very ready, “Though a lot has been said on paper about the preparedness of Nigeria and her health system to manage any potential case of coronavirus, I am not so enthused. I am of the view that a lot still needs to be done to improve Nigeria’s preparedness.
Among other measures, surveillance at all of Nigeria’s borders needs to be beefed up. Concerning the current global public health challenge of COVID-19, not much seems to have been done to effectively raise public awareness and participation. The needed diagnostic infrastructure and other institutional frameworks still need to be strengthened with greater political commitment demonstrated at all levels.
This is more so because Nigeria’s health system is yet to conclusively deal a death blow on the Lassa fever scourge that has ravaged many communities and states in Nigeria, with very unfortunate and avoidable deaths of many, including medical doctors and other health workers. Additionally, surveillance at all of Nigeria’s borders needs to be heightened with effective tracking modalities put in place. Defined management protocols for suspected cases should be adhered to.”
On what the citizens should do, “Nigerians should constantly seek credible information on COVID-19 and commit themselves to appropriate public health measures to prevent or limit its spread. They must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by any myth(s) that may be propagated by some unscrupulous agents.
If in doubt, they should seek appropriate information from credible institutional sources or their health care provider. They should adhere strictly to personal hygiene practices, including washing of hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with alcohol-based (at least 60 percent alcohol) hand sanitizer. If they develop any suspicious symptoms, they should immediately visit a licensed medical practitioner for their care.”
On what the government should do, “Government should show the needed political commitment to combat Coronavirus and other contending public health challenges. They should learn from the experiences garnered during Nigeria’s successful management of the Ebola virus scourge, and effectively deploy them in their strategic response and management approach to COVID-19.
I expect government at all levels to commit needed resources to the development of indigenous solutions to Nigeria’s public health challenges, including the development and production of effective vaccines and other preventive remedies. I expect NCDC to strengthen its public health preventive approaches and its surveillance/tracking mechanisms particularly at all points of entry into Nigeria.
The agency should equally partner with other relevant agencies and sectors of government to raise public awareness and participation in their efforts to prevent and manage Coronavirus and other public health challenges.
On the release of funds by the Federal Government, money should not only be earmarked, but it should also be ‘eye-marked’ and effectively used for what it is meant for, with adequate and dynamic tracking, monitoring and evaluation of its utilization, performance, and outcomes.”
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