Posted by News Express | 15 May 2020 | 874 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA
As Nigeria continues to record daily surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Enugu State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA) has expressed its readiness to tackle the spread of the virus across communities in the state.
The Executive Secretary of ENS-PHCDA, Dr. George Ugwu, told newsmen in Enugu on Thursday that with more than 50 per cent of current COVID-19 cases no longer from people who travelled or returned from overseas.
According to Ugwu, almost all new cases of the virus are as a result of community transmission.
He noted that due to the development, Primary Health Care (PHC) system across the country had to double their efforts at containing the spread.
He explained that in the bid to tackle the virus, the National PHCDA held several meetings and came up with what it termed response and preparedness to COVID-19 at the PHC centres and community levels.
Ugwu said that back in the state, the ENS-PHCDA had to convene emergency board meetings because of the importance it places on the wellbeing of the people especially at the community and rural levels.
“When the deadly disease broke out, many states had the challenge of how to maintain PHC services. But here in Enugu, we decided that we shall not only continue with our health care delivery, but also improve on what we have been doing. Health is an exception in this issue of lockdown,’’ he said.
Ugwu noted that in line with directives by the national PHCDA, the state PHCDA had been making efforts to ensure that community transmission of the virus was controlled by first deepening and strengthening of risk communication and social mobilisation, which involves giving out the correct information and dispelling rumours about the virus.
“In rural areas, people keep thinking it is a disease of the rich. But with our local platforms for social mobilisation and health information sharing, we are able to keep the people informed on what to do in other not to contract the virus. We intend to intensify it as much as possible,” he said.
The executive secretary explained that the agency, in this regard, had to collaborate with traditional, religious leaders and other community
leaders to ensure that the people at the grassroots are better informed about how to avoid contracting the virus.
He said that the agency had been conducting training and orientation for PHC workers in the state to ensure that they are better informed and have the needed skills to identify and put victims of the virus in a holding area.
Ugwu said: “They are also being trained on the need to protect themselves while carrying out their duties. Efforts have also been made to ensure that PHC staff are spread across the boundary local governments with their thermometers to help them screen people who are coming in and going out of the state. They provide us daily reports of whatever goes on in the field.”
He maintained that the virus is not treated at the PHC centres; but the centres only functions to identify and isolate and then link up patients to be taken to the state isolation centres.
He added that the agency also uses its network of PHC workers down at the local government areas and political wards to enhance contact tracing and surveillance in conjunction with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
The Executive Secretary further noted that the successes recorded so far would not have been possible if Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwunayi had not placed priority on the well-being of the good people of the state especially the vast majority of the people at the rural areas/communities.
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