Dr Fiona Braka, Officer-in-Charge of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, has called for Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions ( NPIs) in containing the COVID-19 in the country.
Braka told the Newsmen in Abuja that the Federal and State Governments had provided leadership for COVID-19 response.
She said more needed to be done at state levels as the cases continue to increase.
“The key areas of interventions required now are the NPIs.
“Non-pharmaceutical interventions like social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene in addition to rigorous surveillance (case identification, laboratory diagnosis, contact tracing), and isolation and care for all confirmed cases,’’ the official said.
According to her, physical distancing is one of the recommended strategies for preventing human to human transmission.
Braka said the extension of 14 days of lockdown was a welcome idea as it would enhance psychical distancing.
“The lock down does facilitate physical distancing and is a welcome intervention.
“However, physical distancing alone will not stop the spread but needs to be combined with other recommended strategies – testing, isolation of patients, contact tracing and quarantine.’’
The official, however, said the WHO would continue to support Nigeria in its fight against COVID-19 and other diseases.
“WHO is supporting countries globally with response to the pandemic and from the WHO Regional Office for Africa, four experts have been deployed to Nigeria.
“Four experts have been deployed to Nigeria currently and remote support provided by experts from the WHO headquarters in Geneva and the Regional office in Brazzaville.
“These are in additional to an excellent team of public health experts who already work in all 36 States and the FCT, in the different WHO Nigeria offices.’’
In addition, she said: “WHO’s extensive Polio Programme resources have already been re-purposed and deployed, and have been crucial in supporting all affected states to mount an initial response.
“Elsewhere in states that are yet to report any confirmed case, these resources are currently engaged in preparatory activities and surveillance.
“WHO will continue to support Nigeria throughout the response and even during the recovery phase,’’ the official said.
According to her, donor agencies and governments have been contributing to support WHO’s work in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
“Funds have been made available to WHO Nigeria through the Regional Office and Headquarters in Geneva which is financing the WHO’s current support to the response in Nigeria.
“We are also grateful to other partners who have supported WHO Nigeria directly.
“The United Nations in Nigeria has set up a Basket Fund that was recently inaugurated by the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF).
“Resources from the Basket Fund are supporting critical aspects of the response.’’
Fewer than 542 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria, 166 cases treated and discharged with 19 deaths as at Saturday, April 18.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in Africa has risen to over 19,000, with over 4,416 recoveries and 991 deaths reported.