Frontline medical personnel under the Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) had called for concerted action by relevant agencies to train and empower enough healthcare workers to combat Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.
The association made the appeal in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Dr Stanley Egbogu at the weekend in Kaduna.
Egbogu in that statement urged that, governments at all levels should provide equipment and facilities to rapidly contain this public health emergency of international concern.
“Even as we prevent hospital outbreak and community transmission, we must lookout for the first cluster and evidence of community transmission and avoid all forms of fatal complacency.
“This deserves all the seriousness it should get and must not be politicised,’’ he said.
He expressed the association’s readiness to partner with the State and Federal Ministries of Health, NCDC and infectious diseases and critical care teams in hospitals to contain the case and prevent a possible outbreak of (COVID-19) disease.
“Our association brings to your notice the confirmation of the first case of the COVID-19, coronavirus disease in Nigeria on Feb. 27.
“The index case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned to Nigeria on Feb. 25 from Milan.
“He is currently being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos, and this makes Nigeria the 52nd country to record COVID-19,’’ he noted.
Egbogu said that although Coronavirus has a low fatality rate of two percent, individuals who come down with the disease may succumb to the disease, if not properly managed.
He therefore encouraged healthcare workers are to maintain a high index of suspicion in line of duty and in the community.
He further called on relevant agencies of government across the country to ensure the provision and availability of N95 FFP3, Face masks, respirators and fit test.
He also requested provision for other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers who will be treating patients with respiratory symptoms at the entry points.
The association further appealed to relevant agencies of the Federal government to ensure adequate screening of travellers into the country at all entry points, including airports, seaports and land borders.
To the health workers and individual person he advised them on what to do:
Avoid contact with people who are sick without adequate protection.
Avoid touching of eyes, nose and mouth, and practice respiratory hygiene and encourage those around them to do same.
Maintain a distance of at least five feet from someone who has dry cough and sneezing.
Ensure surfaces are clean and disinfected regularly with a solution containing ethanol, 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide, 0.1 percent sodium hypochlorite or benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine digluconate.
Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser (62-71 per cent alcohol).
Facemasks should be used by people with flu-like symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath, or runny nose.
He advised health workers caring for patients with respiratory symptoms and persons in the region currently experiencing an outbreak to use the N95 FFP3 face masks.