Experts Call for Increased Collaboration against COVID-19

Former Lagos state Commissioner of Health, Dr Jide Idris

Hamid Ayodeji

One of Nigeria’s leading risk and strategic management firm, Conrad Clark, recently converged stakeholders and experts in risk management and health sector to fashion out modalities and prepare for crises in a more preventive than curative direction.

A statement at the end of the forum held online, noted that while medical practitioners are trying to get thoughts together on what could be a reliable remedy to the COVID-19 pandemic, every possibility was analysed and given the weight it deserved in reputable medical laboratories, with little attention to the network of interaction in the society.

It pointed out that in the engaging webinar, it was revealed that winning the war against a pandemic was not a responsibility of medical pundits alone, but a joint responsibility to manage the resultant crisis and prepare for subsequent eventualities.

Former Commissioner of Health, Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris, in his presentation, discussed the lessons that ought to have been learnt from the deadly Ebola virus that threatened human existence between 2013 and 2015.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented challenge. While countries with advanced healthcare systems struggle in the fight against it, the effects on countries with weaker health systems, including Nigeria and other parts of Africa where cases are growing, will be significant,” Idris said.

As a former health commissioner, Idris was directly engaged in the country’s fight against Ebola epidemic in 2014. The epidemic claimed the lives of key medical experts in Lagos State, and there were massive economic losses across West Africa.

“Ebola taught us painful, but valuable lessons. Today, as our fellow healthcare leaders confront COVID-19, we share those lessons and recommendations to strengthen the response.

“2018, under the Global Security agenda, there was a joint external evaluation where every country that signed into this agenda should be able to self-examine itself to establish their preparedness.

“Nigeria signed on and had a score of 40 per cent implying that we were totally unprepared. As a country, we scored low in the following critical areas: Legislation, leadership and Governance, bio Security and Medical Counter Measures.

“In 2019, following a global initiative, a global index score for Nigeria was arrived at after accessing 195 countries with Nigeria scoring 96 positions. Nigeria scored very poorly in prevention, detection and reporting, rapid response health System, Capacity, Medical Counter Measures and risk measurement, which is worrisome,” he disclosed.

He stressed the need to invest in prevention and mitigation, to reduce the resultant cost of rehabilitation and recovery. He went on to emphasise the need for collaboration, teamwork, infrastructure development, isolation centers, community engagement, response team, case management, test capacity and decontamination to overcome COVID -19.

Medical practitioner, Ebun Sonaiya, focused on how healthcare professionals can protect themselves.

He stressed the importance of the protector to protect themselves, with a pointer to Italy as a case, where many doctors died while treating COVID-19 infected patients.

He believed that a new idea may be adopted to safeguard the medical caregivers in service, to save them and their families from avoidable incidences.

While emphasising the need to avoid potential health hazards at this critical time, Ebun announced France’s ongoing research into a cure that has gulped over five billion euros into the research of vaccines and treatment, stressing that Chloroquine was not an approved treatment of COVID-19.

The convener and MD/CEO, Conrad Clark, Joachim Adenusi, highlighted other salient areas of discuss, bordering on sufficient information, preventive measures, disaster/pandemic control and the strategies to enlighten the grassroots on the fact that COVID-19 could actually be more deadly than Ebola, and how it can be prevented without panic.

“Conrad Clark will be engaging with Lagos State Gov and will be willing to offer valuable strategic risk advice/support in handling the threat facing our nation.

“It shall provide informed direction to achieving adequate training on risk management from the top to the grassroots, communicating with them in specifics and in the language they understand,” the statement added.