By Hassan Zaggi
In an effort to halt the spread of the Covid-19 at the community level, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has concluded plans to train over 220,000 Primary Health Care (PHC) workers across the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The objectives of the training included among others, to equip primary health care workers with the appropriate knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks in the era of COVID-19; to understand the mode of transmission of the virus and its preventive measures.
The training is also designed to protect PHC workers, clients and communities from contracting the coronavirus disease, while ensuring the safe, free flow of the other PHC services, such as immunization and ante natal services as well as child delivery.
Speaking while declaring open the National Training of Trainers (NTOT) on Primary Healthcare Workers Guide on Covid-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response, in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the training of the PHC workers was timely considering that the country was gradually migrating to community transmission phase of the disease and the PHC workers being the first point of call in all communities.
“The workers manning PHC facilities are strategically positioned to contribute to the decisive actions required to curb this scourge.
“They can protect themselves, identify and refer suspected cases of COVID-19 at the facility and community levels, trace contacts of suspected cases and monitor the adherence to quarantine and self-isolation directives to contacts.
“The capability of the PHC workers to engage the grassroots was very essential in our near eradication of Polio and the decisive control of Ebola in 2014. These same skills are what we are drawing upon to support the next phase of the COVID~19 outbreak response.
“I am equally aware that most PHC workers require additional skills and knowledge to adequately and effectively respond to COVID-19 outbreak.
“To do this, they must therefore be provided with the requisite training at this level,” Ehanire said.
On his part, the Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, disclosed that the training was aimed at halting community transmission of COVID-19 in the country.
The training, he reiterated, was further targeted at ensuring the free flow of quality PHC services following all safety measures in line with the guidelines and protocol of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC).
According to him, the over 200 participants drawn from across the 36 States and the FCT were involved with the first phase of the 3-day National Online Training.
According to Dr. Shuaib, the training would be cascaded down to State and LGA levels where over 220,000 primary health care workers would receive capacity building nationwide.
Dr. Shuaib expressed optimism that with the training, there would be a significant infection prevention and control of COVID-19 in the country.