WHO scales up support to fight COVID-19, as Borno discharges 135 patients
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Manager in Northeast, Dr Collins Owili has said that the UN health agency has been providing technical support to ministries of health in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
According to him, the support is in active surveillance, risk communication, coronavirus (COVID-19) contact tracing and logistics for responses to confirmed cases of deadly virus in Borno state.
Owili in a statement Friday released on WHO website in Maiduguri disclosed: “Following confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Borno, WHO and other partners are moving rapidly to help health authority in the state.
“We’re to identify, test and treat cases in order to prevent and control a further outbreak of the disease that claimed over a dozen lives.”
He said the first case of COVID-19 was reported 51 days after Nigeria declared an outbreak of COVID-19 disease.
According to him, as on Friday, May 29, 2020, the country recorded 8,915 cases in 34 states, including Borno and the Federal Capital Territory.
While speaking on Borno’s COVID-19 index case, Chairman of State’s Committee on prevention and control of coronavirus, Umar Usman Kadafur, disclosed; “The index case of a 56-year-old citizen of state was brought in from Pulka with symptoms of severe respiratory disease before he died at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH).
“The index case is a health worker in Pulka, Gwoza local government area who was managed for 10 days in a health facility before being referred to UMTH.
He noted that while on admission in the hospital for three days; a sample was collected and tested positive for COVID-19 on April 18, 2020, and died on the same day.
Kadafur added that the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC) has been fully activated for the COVID-19 response.
On WHO’s COVID-19 preparatory response, Owili said: “We had trained State and Local Government Areas (LGAs) Rapid Response Teams (RRT).
“While continuing insecurity has made surveillance and response challenging, contacts have been identified and are being followed-up.
“WHO has line-listed over 103 contacts linked with the index case and are on self-quarantine. Details of the contacts indicate that 62 are in Maiduguri while 35 are in Pulka.”
He said with technical support from WHO, the infection, prevention and control (IPC) teams are currently decontaminating health facilities where the index case in the state was admitted.
While lamenting on hard areas to reach, he said: Through our mobile health clinic (hard-to-reach teams), traditional and religious leaders including 229 religious leaders in 23 LGAs, nomadic settlements, and people in security compromised areas of Borno have been educated on social distancing, use of sanitizers and face masks as part of preventive behaviours for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, risk communication interventions including motorized campaign, house-to-house sensitization are taking place in Gwoza where contacts and alerts of suspected cases have been reported.
“Borno state is at the heart of a humanitarian crisis in the north-east of Nigeria where about seven million people need health assistance,” he said; noting that 60 per cent of health facilities are functioning partially or not at all.
“Detecting and responding rapidly to suspect cases of COVID-19; is vital to controlling the outbreaks, which can spread rapidly,” he said; warning that in areas where access to safe water is limited, hygiene conditions are poor and populations are weakened by food shortages.