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ACIOE Webinar On Lessons From The COVID-19 Epicenters; Winning Strategies From The Frontline (2)

On Friday, the 19th of June, ACIOE Associates hosted its second health webinar in the series on shared lessons from the COVID Epicentres in Nigeria. The webinar had two main segments, the first segment was a set of presentations, and the second segment, a panel discussion. The presentations set the scene for the panel discussions.

The ACIOE team delivered the first presentation, and it provided an overview of the current Global COVID-19 Statistics. The presentation highlighted that global recovery from COVID-19 as at the 16th of June stood at 52% while the fatality rate is 5%. The Oceania region has the highest recovery rate of approximately 94%. Looking at the top 10 COVID-19 infected countries in Africa, South Africa has the highest percentage of confirmed cases (29%), Mauritius has the highest testing figures (10.4%), Morocco has the highest recovery (88%) and Nigeria accounts for 7% of the total number of confirmed cases on the continent.

The Country Representative Resolve to Save Lives (A Vital Strategies Initiatives), Dr. Emmanuel Agogo delivered the second presentation. His presentation provided an overview of the NCDC State engagement for the COVID19 response in Nigeria. He noted that NCDC’s goal is to strengthen states’ capacity via the support that it provides. This support spans across 5 major areas including coordination, surveillance, improved capacity for diagnosis, the establishment of rapid response teams, and communication/collaboration with other states.

Following the presentations was a panel discussion moderated by the Senior Health Specialist at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Dr. Olumide Okunola. The panel consisted of the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Ekiti State, Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade; the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Katsina State, Dr. Yakubu Danja Coker; The Executive Secretary Primary Healthcare Agency Kano State, Dr. Tijani Hussaini and The Country Representative Resolve to Save Lives (A Vital Strategies initiative), Dr. Emmanuel Agogo.

Please see highlights from the panel discussion – Hon Yakubu Danja, Honorable Commissioner for Health Katsina State –The Katsina state government has rolled out several initiatives to sensitize the public on COVID-19, its symptoms, and measures that should be adopted to curb its spread. The sensitization started with with religious leaders and was extended to key stakeholders and the general public. The state government has also set up a laboratory to support testing for COVID-19. The laboratory can test up to 270 people daily. He stated that 25 out of the 34 LGAs within the state have recorded cases of COVID-19. He then stressed that new infections are increasingly being recorded amongst health workers, due to the shortage of adequate PPEs within the state. The state trained over 300 physicians across its health facilities including disease surveillance officers. He added that Katsina state has a holding center of 150 beds, with plans underway to establish additional holding centers for infected persons in other areas.

– Dr. Tijjani Hussain, The Executive Secretary Primary Healthcare Agency Kano State – Over 2,000 samples have been collected for testing within Kano state. Dr. Tijjani stated that with the support received from several organizations, the state was able to sensitize the public on COVID-19. They engaged religious institutions and various groups within the state using social media alongside other tools. He mentioned that the KanoState government has trained over 1500 healthcare workers and provided PPEs to health workers at all levels. He stressed that other essential services (Immunization, antenatal care, family planning etc.) are ongoing and available at the health facilities across the state. He added that as part of the state’s COVID-19 containment approach, its isolation facilities were divided into 3 categories; Level 1, 2, and 3. Level 1 is for patients asymptomatic/mild cases who have nowhere to selfisolate, level 2 is for moderate cases while level 3 is severe cases requiring extensive care. Finally, he stated that a number of the state’s COVID-19 related deaths have occurred outside of its health facilities.

– Dr. Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, Honourable Commissioner for Health Ekiti State– Ekiti state was the third state to record cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria. Following the outbreak of COVID-19 within the state, the state government started training its health workers and procuring PPEs to ensure their safety. She noted that Ekiti state did not have an isolation center but later set up a 10-bed facility to serve that purpose. She thanked CACOVID for its suppor,t stating that this support allowed the state to increase its isolation center to a 200-bed space. Ekiti state plans to conduct 10,000 tests over the next 3 months and has begun pilot testing to that effect. In total, Ekiti state plans to have 19 testing centers will be testing samples from all LGAs. She also noted that the state will soon have another 3 molecular laboratories. To ensure that frontline health workers are adequately compensated, the state has insured over 500 health workers and also pays additional wages to those treating COVID-19 patients.Finally, she stated that the state’s research team uses a GIS-based application to locate households for sampling ensuring that analysis and surveillance are unbiased.

– Dr. Emmanuel Agogo The Country Representative Resolve to Save Lives (A Vital Strategies Initiatives)– He noted that NCDC is constantly exploring ways to improve the response at the subnational level. He recommended that states conduct a mid-action review 60 days into their outbreak to ensure that their response is increasingly adaptive. He encouraged states to also adopt a human-centered approach in their COVID-19 containment efforts, stressing that the 4Ls (lives, livelihoods, liberty, and long term) and 4Ts (trace, test, triage treat) should guide the overall strategy.

Following the panel discussion and Q&A was the closing remarks delivered by Ekenem Isichei, the Managing Partner ACIOE Associates. He emphasied the need for data collection, analysis and making sure health remains a top priority at the subnational level. He thanked all participants and panelists for their time and invited everyone for the next webinar, scheduled for the 25th of June 2020.

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