News Analysis

Imperatives of Establishing Community Support Centres for Covid-19 Management

Last month, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said the Federal Government was set to establish community support centres in selected clusters of local government areas across the country for the management of Covid-19 cases. 

Dr. Ehanire disclosed this at the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 briefing in Abuja, affirming that the Federal Ministry of Health had developed the established guidelines.

The minister noted that, bearing in mind the importance of managing cases in facilities, the Federal Ministry of Health through the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency has developed a guideline for the establishment of community support centres.

He maintained that these community support centres would strengthen the capacity of the health system at the community level to respond to the outbreak and result in the reduction of the transmission of Covid-19 within communities in high burden and high-density states.

The health minister emphasised that community transmission has resulted in the high number of confirmed cases with the challenge that in some states, the facilities for case management may become overwhelmed hence the need for more information and community enlightenment. 

The minister noted that Nigeria could reduce Covid-19 deaths if non-pharmaceutical interventions are scaled up and is proactive in dealing with positive cases.

 Dr Ehanire stressed that there was need to scale up testing, tracing, treatment and isolation, with priority on offering more protection to elderly citizens and those with co-morbidities, from the threat of infection.

Two months after the statement by the health minister, not much has been done in establishing community support centres on Covid19.

It is imperative that concerned stakeholders take the bull by the horn as community transmitted cases of Covid 19 cases kept increasing.

In a related development, earlier this month, the Federal Government directed ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, to create isolation centres in offices as part of additional steps to curtail the spread of Covid 19.

According to the guidelines, the isolation centres in offices are meant for those who fall sick during working hours.

The regulations were contained in a document entitled ‘Guidelines on the Control of Covid-19 Service Wide’ prepared by the office of the Head of Service of the Federation.

The office said the guidelines were compiled out of the need to reduce the impact of the pandemic on government businesses and the public by controlling the spread of the disease in all MDAs.

It added that the guidelines were developed to complement the efforts of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.

The document recommended that MDAs should designate holding areas with closable doors, which would serve as isolation room[s] until potentially sick people could be safely moved from the work place to the health facility.

It further discourages workers from sharing work tools, equipment and items like computers and phones while emphasising frequent cleaning and disinfection of work surfaces like door handles, elevator buttons, keyboards and sinks.   

If all these measures are put in place, they would go a long way at reducing the virus personal hygiene must not be compromised in combating it.

Titilayo Kupoliyi

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