By Danmaryam Zayamu
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has applauded China and other countries for their efforts in sharing information on the outbreak of Coronavirus promptly.
This, according to the WHO Technical Officer for Health Emergency Programme, Dr. Dhamari Naidoo, has demonstrated how the global health community has changed.
She gave the commendation in Abuja at the weekend while sensitizing journalists on the global novel Coronavirus outbreak.
According to her: “China has been extremely open and information had come forth and we had the discovery of the virus happening within a week and a half of the initial event.
“Diagnostic had been developed after another week and all the international community who are recording cases are sharing information.
“They may sometimes be slow because national systems are slow to put that information together but that information is being sorted out to the international level.”
On how long the declaration of Coronavirus as a global health emergency by the WHO will remain, she said: “This depends on how China quickly manages to control the outbreak and how countries affected will stop the importation and further spread in their countries.
“We cannot put a time point on this. We monitor regularly and then it is up to the Director General of WHO to decide when to call the next meeting. This requires time, data collection and information sharing.”
She, however, disclosed that WHO has concluded plans to conduct a refresher training for medical doctors, medical laboratory scientists and other health professionals on how to respond and deal with Coronavirus in Nigeria.
According to her: “What we are currently doing and the activities that we will be rolling out next week or so is training and capacity building.
“This event is a respiratory outbreak event. This means that we need to go back to our healthcare facilities, our clinicians, our doctors, our laboratory staff and just do a refresher training on how to respond and how to deal with this.
“There is man power out there, we just need to retrain and get them up to speed with the most relevant information.”
While responding to questions on the availability of health facilities that have the needed equipment to handle Coronavirus if its eventually slipped into the country, she said: “In terms of facilities available for isolation and patient care, we are currently performing assessment to identify which are most appropriate facilities we can work with and what additional resources they need.
“There is always a need for improving infrastructure, putting in new equipment etc and so with that we will have more information in the coming weeks. The assessment to determine that is ongoing.”
She disclosed that WHO is currently supporting all countries on their preparation efforts.
Dr. Naidoo, however, revealed that 13 countries have been identified as priority countries in Africa that need to increase their preparedness measures due to their direct links or high volume of travel to China.
The countries, according to her, include Algeria, Angola Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.