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 Table of Contents  
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 159-160

Utilizing the framework of polio elimination for the containment of coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in Nigeria


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission07-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance29-Apr-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/IJAM.IJAM_31_20

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Utilizing the framework of polio elimination for the containment of coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in Nigeria. Int J Acad Med 2020;6:159-60

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Utilizing the framework of polio elimination for the containment of coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak in Nigeria. Int J Acad Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Jul 2];6:159-60. Available from: http://www.ijam-web.org/text.asp?2020/6/2/159/287951



To the Editor,

The ongoing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted the delivery of routine welfare and essential health services in most of the affected nation owing to the enormous caseload and the ability of the disease to spread rapidly within and beyond national boundaries. Till date, a total of 1,210,956 cases and 67,594 deaths have been reported across the 211 nations wherein cases have been reported and it amounts to a case fatality rate of 5.58%.[1] The European region and the American region are the most affected accounting for 54% and 29% of the global caseload, while the African region has contributed the least share of global cases (0.54%), but the scenario is changing with each day.[1]

COVID-19 in African region

In the African region, a total of 44 nations have reported cases till date, of which the worrisome concern is that 32 nations have reported local transmission.[1] From the public health perspective, it puts an added pressure on the health authorities, as there is always a potential risk of onset of community-based transmission which can overwhelm the health system. In the region, South Africa and Algeria have the greatest number of cases, but Algeria has reported the maximum number of deaths.

COVID-19 in Nigeria

In Nigeria, since the detection of the first case on February 27, 2020, a total of 208 cases and four deaths has been reported.[2],[3] It is important to note that Nigeria remains one among the 3three nations who have not yet been certified for polio elimination and simultaneously is also fighting against the outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the recent past.[2],[3]

As the nation has not reported any wild polio case in more than 3 years and their certification is due in the latter half of this year, the plan is that the existing infrastructure will be merged with the national health system to strengthen the process of health-care delivery.[3] Acknowledging the fact that Nigeria is the most populous nation in the region, and the fact that COVID-19 spreads by close contact and droplets, it is high time that the situation should not be ignored, especially because the local transmission has already been reported.[2],[3] The unprecedented disease requires an unprecedented response from the national authorities and it has been decided to mobilize all the available resources, especially pertaining to the polio elimination program (namely, human resources, surveillance mechanism, technical assistance, logistics, and the existing community framework) in the nation.[3],[4]

Utilizing the framework of polio program

As contact tracing has a special role in interrupting the chain of transmission, more than 6500 contacts have been tracked in the nation with the help of the staff who were employed in the polio program till date.[3] To bridge the gap pertaining to awareness of the disease, clear myths, and inform the people about modes of transmission and prevention of the disease, the staff from polio program has been highly active in ensuring provision of precise, clear, and timely information to the members of the community.[3] Moreover, with reference to the evidence obtained from nations who have been able to contain the outbreak in their settings, the importance of community engagement has been emphasized. Thus, the staff has been really calculated in their approach and has targeted the various communities or religious leaders through the framework which has been established as a part of control of polio or Ebola virus disease.[2],[3],[4]

At the same time, these staff members have been actively involved in the various prevention and control activities of COVID-19, such as disease surveillance, community engagement, risk communication, laboratory tests, and at the point of entries.[3],[4],[5] Further, the staff has been advised to use the various innovations adopted as a part of polio elimination, including the use of mobile phones for performing real-time tracking and reporting, and it plays an important role in ensuring overall coordination of outbreak response activities in the nation.[3] Even though all these activities are going on in full pace, there is an immense need to continue the activities and strengthen the capacity of the nation to prepare for a large-scale community transmission, and thus, there is a definite need for financial assistance to fund the ongoing activities.


  Conclusion Top


In conclusion, in the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, the kind of support which has been extended by the existing framework of polio control in Nigeria is worth taking inspiration. Among these times of public health emergencies and scarcity of resources, each and every nation has to work toward the mobilization of the existing resources and not allows the disease to enter into the community transmission phase.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Research quality and ethics statement

The authors of this manuscript declare that this scientific work complies with reporting quality, formatting, and reproducibility guidelines set forth by the EQUATOR Network. The authors also attest that this manuscript does not require Institutional Review Board/Ethics Committee review, and the corresponding protocol/approval number is not applicable.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 77; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-sou rce/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200406-sit rep-77-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=21d1e632_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ebenso B, Otu A. Can Nigeria contain the COVID-19 outbreak using lessons from recent epidemics? Lancet Glob Health. 2020. pii: S2214-109X (20) 30101-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization-Africa. Nigeria's polio infrastructure bolster COVID-19 response; 2020. Available from: https://www.afro.who.int/news/nig erias-polio-infrastructure-bolster-covid-19-respo nse?country=979 and name=Nigeria. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 07].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Minimizing the risk of international spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak by targeting travelers. J Acute Dis 2020;9:47-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
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