The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has commended citizens for uniting against COVID-19, as the country marks one year since the country confirmed its index case.
In a statement on Saturday, the NCDC said since February 27, 2020, when the country recorded the first case, the agency has led Nigeria’s public health response by scaling up testing, and providing technical support to states.
Chikwe Ihekweazu, director-general of the NCDC, was quoted as saying Nigerians must continue to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol to prevent the spread of the virus.
“In 2020, our country truly united in solidarity against the virus. The impact of this has been obvious from small personal gestures such as sharing foodstuff, to collaboration on research and innovation – to regional and pan-African collaboration,” Ihekweazu said.
“Despite the best efforts of government, it will take time to vaccinate everyone against COVID-19. We must keep adhering to the public health and social measures that keep each and all of us safe. This means physical distancing, wearing face masks, practising hand and respiratory hygiene and avoiding crowded indoor places.”
According to Omobolaji Oduwole, NCDC’s head of communication, the country’s response to the pandemic has also helped to revamp public health infrastructure, with the establishment of over 70 public health laboratories across the country.
“With over 150,000 cases reported since then, Nigeria’s response has been led by science and driven by the power of coordination, collaboration and solidarity across federal and state governments, partners, private sector and citizens,” the NCDC spokesperson said.
“Prior to the confirmation of the first case in Nigeria, NCDC with support from its partners, began preparedness activities. The NCDC began working with states and hospitals to map out and establish isolation and treatment centres for managing COVID-19 cases.
“In addition to this, NCDC began training health workers across all states on case management, infection prevention control (IPC), surveillance, risk communication, and other areas of epidemic preparedness and response.
“The agency also began to preposition medical supplies such as personal protective equipment to all states. Importantly, NCDC developed preparedness guidelines and plans that incorporated an all-inclusive ‘One Health’ approach.
“The NCDC has led Nigeria’s public health response to the pandemic. This includes establishing and scaling up capacity for COVID-19 testing, surveillance activities, developing public health guidelines, as well as providing technical support to states.
“The pandemic also provided the opportunity to rapidly scale up Nigeria’s public health infrastructure. One of these is with the establishment of more than 70 public health laboratories across the country; with at least one public health laboratory for COVID-19 testing in each state.”