The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says 3,608 healthcare workers have benefited from its training on infection prevention and control of the Novel Coronavirus (COVI9-19) pandemic outbreak in the country.
Its Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, made this known at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ihekweazu said that as at April 5, the agency had trained a total of 3,608 health workers for the infection prevention and control in the country.
“NCDC has supported 20 per cent of those numbers, which are actually from the private sector, because many Nigerians received care from the private sector.
“So, as we responded in the early days of the outbreak in Ogun and Lagos States, we actually focussed a lot on the private sector in addition to the healthcare facilities where we are managing these patients.
“Another 22 per cent were on treatment centres and 27 per cent were other members of our health work force that work as part of the response team,” he said.
The director-general said that 270 health workers were also trained across the country on case management.
“Specifically, in every state, the state Epidemiology and the Public Health team trained them on how to develop an instant action plan.
“They have all gone ahead to develop this plan for their own states; with this plan, they are now managing the response in their states,” the NCDC chief said.
He noted that the trainings had built capacity among the healthcare workers for pandemic outbreak which was critically needed, but also for the future.
Ihekweazu said that President Muhammadu Buhari had outlined training as one of his key priorities, and asked the agency to train a couple of health workers.
The director-general said that this was in addition with the health workers from the Army Forces.
He said that the agency had developed a guideline for the health workers in ensuring that they have a guideline to work with.
“We have a guideline on how to wear the Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs), how to take them off, how to clean the healthcare environment, how to conduct safe burials, how to use case definition and an interim guidance on case management.
“So, these are all the resources we have provided for our healthcare workers, so that they could feel confident in managing a new disease.
“In addition, we have distributed all the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) commodities they needed,” he explained.
Ihekweazu said that healthcare was government absolute priority.
“So, whatever we are doing, we are focussing on ensuring that our healthcare workers feel confident, feel supported, and we provide them both proactively in terms of the starter packs,” he said.
In another development, Ihekweazu said that the agency had joined the global community to recognise and celebrate the efforts of nurses and midwives.
“At NCDC, we are especially grateful to the nurses at the frontline of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.
“We remain committed to working with nurses to protect the health of Nigerians,” the director-general said.
He expressed appreciation to the families of all health workers on the frontline responding to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
“We are grateful to partners, children and other family members, who provided psychological and other forms of support to our health workers,” he noted.
The NCDC, however, urged Nigerians to adhere strictly to the guidelines and social distancing measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID19 pandemic.