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Coronavirus: Augmenting response in Nigeria

The ongoing pandemic of the novel Coronavirus disease was first documented in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. So far till the 18th of March 2020, there are over 200,000 confirmed cases with over 8,000 deaths globally. The world’s health systems are being stretched converging resources into learning, treating, preventing and containing the transmission of coronavirus amongst the human population and reduce mortality.

Despite the evolution of strategies, no country seems to be adequately prepared for the pandemic. The measures to containing spread as well as the impact of COVID19 has crippled the manufacturing and supply of medical items leading to a global shortage of protective equipment thus, posing a tremendous risk to frontline health workers. The novelty of the coronavirus global health emergency gradually cripples world’s economy, relying on traditional response methods to confronting the pandemic might be futile. There is a need to galvanise multi-sectoral approach – public and private – to new world’s puzzle.

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Globally, there are alerts on shortage of medical stocks. Countries like India have restricted the exports of masks, ventilators and raw materials for in-country reponse. With over 200million population, Nigeria needs to proactively mass import needed medical supplies or raw materials and awaken of local manufacturers to produce medical supplies should there be a potential surge in cases.

As self-isolations and travel restrictions in-country is evolving, Telemedicine could play a crucial role in providing patient consultations and telehealth for education and training while ensuring our hospitals are not overwhelmed by the need for the conventional face-to-face consultations.

Reliance on innovative supply chain systems could ensure movement of medical supplies to the health facility and adequate distribution of prescribed drugs to patients who are observing self-isolation. Sample transportation would face deterrents to detection as self-isolation and travel restrictions expand in-country.

Currently, there is only five laboratory for the testing of COVID19 catering for the entire Nigerian population at risk. Deployment of mass unconventional diagnostics approach to support the existing national laboratory network would play a crucial role in early detection—isolation and treatment of cases.

Coronavirus pandemic is indeed the current world puzzle. The Nigerian government multi-sectoral approach with the inauguration of the Presidential Task Force is in the right direction. Although more needs to be done, every citizen has to play a role in COVID19 pandemic. Good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, social distancing and self-isolation will help reduce the impact of COVID19.

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