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ACIOE Webinar On Lessons From The Covid-19 Epicenters; Winning Strategies From The Frontline.

On Friday, the 5th of June, ACIOE Associates kicked off its first webinar series on shared lessons from the COVID Epicenters 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 NationalCOVID-19 Statistics in Nigeria. The presentation highlighted that the southwest geopolitical zone of Nigeria had 55% of total confirmed cases. In comparison, the southeast geopolitical region had 1% of the total confirmed cases by the 31st of May 2020. The average number of deaths compared to confirmed cases by the 31st of May 2020 was 2%.

The Case Management lead at the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Dr. Abimbola Bowale delivered the second presentation. He provided an overview of the Lagos State COVID-19 containment approach, steps taken by the state to ensure frontline workers’ safety, and steps involved in the management and treatment of infected persons within the state. 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 Honorable Commissioner for Health Edo State, Dr. Patrick Okundia; The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Ogun State, Dr. Tomi Coker; The Honorable Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi and the Executive Secretary Primary Healthcare Agency and Incidence Manager for COVID- 19 in Jigawa State, Dr. Kabir Ibrahim.

Please see highlights from panel discussion

Dr. Patrick Okundia, Honorable Commissioner for Health Edo State – At the onset of the pandemic in the state, the executive Governor set up a task force; charged with developing an effective COVID-19 containment strategy and monitoring its implementation within the state. Existing facilities were converted to COVID-19 management sites and upgraded to ensure effectiveness. Edo state was one of the first states with a molecular testing machine. The state currently uses the SIR model to support decision making within its COVID-19 response strategy.

Dr. Tomi Coker, Honorable Commissioner for Health Ogun State – Ogun state was one of the first states to flag cases of COVID-19 following its residents’ exposure to the index case. As part of its COVID-19 containment approach, the state public sector collaborated with the private sector to implement a robust COVID-19 containment strategy. Suspected contacts were isolated by their places of work, which limited community spread in the state. The state government also set up a risk communication team and rapid response teams across all its Local Government Areas (LGAs). The Commissioner highlighted that 99% of patients in the state were asymptomatic. The Ogun state government has procured life insurance for all frontline workers across the state. It has also provided appropriate PPE (gloves and masks), for its frontline health workers.

Dr Kabir Ibrahim, Executive Secretary Primary Healthcare Agency and Incidence Manager COVID-19 in Jigawa State – At the onset of the pandemic in the state, the state’s ability to curb the spread of the virus was impacted by the repatriation of Almajiris (1348 immigrants). Nonetheless, the state government quickly established a 288-bed isolation centers and provided palliatives to 100,000 low-income households within the state. Molecular Laboratories were installed and provided the state with an opportunity achieve 60% of its testing capacity. In record time, 81% of its confirmed cases recovered and discharged. The state also recorded a mortality rate of 1.3 – 1.6% mortality rate from COVID-19. The state introduced the Jakaldalafiya, who are community contact tracers of influenza-like illnesses. The community contact tracers are responsible for recording and assessment/testing of infected persons. They are also trained to assess and carry out sample testing.

Prof. Akin Abayomi, Honorable Commissioner for Health Lagos State – Lagos state expanded its testing capacity from less than 100 to close to 1000 tests per day. Although it has not tested a thousand a day yet, the Commissioner noted that the state could do so. He went further to stress that since the virus is at the community transmission stage and its numbers will rise in the coming weeks as the state continues to scale-up testing. In
comparison to other states, it is testing three times the country average. COVID-19 Patients are monitored in the state to ascertain the severity of symptoms. Close to 3% of confirmed cases within the state have exhibited severe to critical symptoms. The private sector has provided facilities to complement the state government’s COVID-19 response. However, there is a limit to how many facilities can be provided relative to growing demand. In light of this, Lagos state is putting in place strategies for home care /treatment of asymptomatic and mild cases.

Following the panel discussion and Q&A was the closing remarks delivered by Ekenem Isichei, the Managing Partner ACIOE Associates. He thanked all participants and panelists for their time and invited everyone for the next webinar in the series, scheduled for the 19th of June 2020.

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