The federal government in its effort to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), especially as there is a surge in community transmission, has begun the training of over 200,000 Primary Health Care (PHC) workers to reach out to the grassroots.
The Minister of Health. Dr. Osagie Ehanire, who made this known in Abuja, at the National Training of Trainers on Primary Healthcare Workers Guide on COVID-19 outbreak preparedness and response, explained that PHC workers were critical as they are the first point of call and contact by clients in communities.
He said: “As we migrate to community transmission phase, it has become imperative to, therefore, train and sensitize our primary healthcare workers, who are the first point of call and contact by clients in our communities. The PHC workers manning Primary Health Care (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 optimistic that significant control of community transmission will be achieved if the capacity of over 220,000 primary healthcare workers across the 36 states and FCT and the communities they serve are strengthened and supported to take appropriate measures to limit the spread of this disease.
“It is therefore commendable that The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and Development partners, have come up with a comprehensive PHC guide and training plan to provide the strategic direction required to reduce the devastating effect of community transmission.”
The Executive Director/CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) Dr. Faisal Shuaib, said the agency sensed the possibility of community transmission of the virus early in the day and had prepared documents on PHC preparedness and response to COVID-19 which were shared with all the relevant stakeholders across the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, six weeks preparatory to the commencement of the training programme.
The NPHCDA helmsman disclosed that over two hundred 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. Faisal Shuaib, the training would be cascaded down from the National level to State and LGA levels where over Two Hundred and Twenty Thousand primary health care workers would receive capacity building, nationwide.