The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says the proactive steps by Africa CDC to National Public Health Institutes in strengthening the response capacity of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is commendable.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, the Director General (NCDC) said on Thursday in Abuja that when the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in China, AfricaCDC and World Health Organisation Africa Region (WHOAFRO) were proactive in preparing countries in Africa.
The Africa CDC, an arm of the continental body, the African Union, strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions.
He said that the agencies provided training to laboratory, risk communication, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), and case management personnel in Nigeria.
The director-general stated that the personnel who were trained were tasked with the responsibility of training more colleagues in Nigeria.
He noted that this enabled better preparedness when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country, as laboratory scientists in the five Molecular Laboratories had been trained and risk communications had begun.
Ihekweazu said that the AfricaCDC has supported the deployment of additional human resource across states in the country.
“We’ve also received critical laboratory and medical supplies from AU through the AfricaCDC to strengthen the response capacity in African countries.
“We’re grateful for the coordination and leadership provided by AfricaCDC including regular learning sessions among National Public Health Institutes in Africa, as we respond to COVID19 in the country,” he said.
On February 27, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, confirmed Nigeria’s Index Case of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease in Lagos.
The Index Case, a male Italian, travelled from Milan to Lagos on Feb. 25.
He was confirmed positive to the virus infection at the Virology Laboratory, Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Africa CDC deployed one epidemiologist to Nigeria to support assessment and response to the outbreak, and has shipped 1,000 COVID-19 laboratory test kits to the country.
This is in addition to test kits provided to representatives of Nigeria who attended the training on COVID-19 laboratory diagnostics organised by Africa CDC for 16 African countries in Dakar, Senegal, three weeks after the case was announced, and other test kits supplied by the WHO.
It also partners to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programmes.