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Nigeria leads Training on Infection Prevention and Control to strengthen Coronavirus preparedness in Africa


Nigeria, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Infection Control Network Africa (ICAN) has convened a training meeting on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) to strengthen preparedness for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Africa.

As at 20 February 2020, over 75,748 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2129 deaths have been reported to WHO since 7th of January 2020. African countries are at-risk of the ongoing epidemic because of the significant travel and trade connections with China. On 30th January 2020, the WHO Director-General declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and urged Member Countries to strengthen preparedness for prevention and response to COVID-19. One of the most important areas to prepare for is to prevent transmission in health care settings, through appropriate infection prevention and control.

In response to the potential spread of the outbreak to African Union Member States (MS), the Africa CDC activated its Emergency Operations Centre on 27 January 2020. On 3 February 2020, the Director General of the Africa CDC inaugurated a task force during a meeting with representatives of National Public Health Institutes in Africa to support pan-African coordination of coronavirus prevention, detection and response. The task force consists of five working groups: surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control as well as clinical management of COVID-19 infection.

Nigeria through her National Public Health Institute, NCDC was identified to lead the IPC working group tasked with strengthening IPC capacity across Africa. Infection prevention and control measures cuts across all other working groups and is critical for strengthening preparedness and response activities for COVID-19.

NCDC and Africa CDC in collaboration with WHO and ICAN will train representatives from across Africa on IPC for COVID-19. The training meeting is scheduled to take place from 21 – 25 February 2020 in Abuja. It will provide participants with improved capacity for the prevention and/or control of COVID-19, continuous learning opportunities and inclusion into the COVID-19 IPC focal persons’ network for the African region. This experience will also create advocacy for improved commitment to infection prevention and control principles in African Union Member States.

The Federal Ministry of Health through NCDC and its partners remains fully committed to strengthening preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks.

How to protect yourself from coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

• To reduce the risk of spread of coronavirus, members of the public are advised to adhere to the following measures:

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with a tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a tissue paper is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

• Healthcare workers are always advised to observe standard infection prevention and control measures when attending to patients and take a travel history.

• Travelers from China who show no symptoms on arrival, but who have a fever and cough within 14 days of arrival in Nigeria, should contact NCDC on 0800-970000-10