Plateau Health Inter-professional Committee on COVID-19, a group of health experts has tasked the state government on expanding testing for COVID-19 while adopting new testing strategy and give greater attention to the vulnerable in the State.
The Plateau Health Inter-professional Committee on COVID-19 is an umbrella body constituted and inaugurated on the 24th March, 2020 with focus on the Corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at the global level and its effects at the national and state levels. The umbrella body includes the following associations and unions concerned with human medicine: Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN)
Leading the group to a meeting with Plateau Taskforce on COVID-19, the Group, leader, Dr. Gomerep Simji disclosed that the group was focused on COVID-19 Pandemic at the global level and its effect at the National and State levels with the aim of coming together as health professionals to collectively fight the Coronavirus in the State.
OUR MANDATE/TERMS OF REFERENCE:
1. The committee should interact with the state COVID-19 task force to complement their mandate
2. The committee should liaise/interact with all medical professions and their committees on infection prevention and control
3. To liaise with hospital managements within the state and monitor the level of preparedness of our hospitals and identify their areas of needs
4. To liaise with Civil Society Organizations and the media for public health education/awareness through media message fliers, posters, jingles etc
5. Periodically update the various professional associations on developments in the state concerning COVID-19
6. To co-opt any individual that may assist the committee achieve its mandate
OUR ACTIVITIES SO FAR:
1. We have had a courtesy visit to the Commissioner for Health, permanent secretary ministry of Health, State Epidemiologist and the Public Health Department and Operation Center
2. We have had courtesy visits to the Chief Medical Directors of JUTH, PSSH,Jos and Bingham
3. We have visited the isolation centers in the above three (3) institutions and documented gaps and areas of needs
4. We printed health promotional materials/safety tips and screening protocols, produced hand sanitizers and hand wash.
5. We have had courtesy visits to heads of four media stations ( KT FM, PRTV, Highland FM and JayFM
6. Also the committee sent courtesy letters to three motor parks (Plateau Riders, NTA and Bauchi Road)
7. As a committee, we have had more than twenty (30) media engagements (both TV and Radio) on COVID-19 and infection prevention control (IPC)
8. Members were part of recently organized state training on COVID-19
9. We carried out a survey and below is the summary:
Summary of survey on Plateau Residents on Knowledge, Perception and Practice of COVID-19
1.Responses were obtained from all the LGAs of the State (currently 617 responses)
2. Awareness is high on the transmission and prevention of COVID-19
3. Most people obtain there information from radio (73%) and TV (90%)
4. Almost half don’t believe Nigeria or Plateau State can contain the pandemic.
5. Most (70%) agree with the lockdown measures in the State
6. Practices are varied
A. 95% agree to regular handwashing
B. Only 30% can avoid touching their hands
C. 15% regularly go to markets
D. 10% still attend church/juma’at services
E. More than 60 % find it difficult to keep a 1 – 2 metre distance from other people.
F. More than 40% find it difficult to maintain cough etiquette.
7. Only 60% have the contact numbers of health authorities for COVID-19 readily available.
1. Need to actively engage health professionals in health matters
2. Need for financial assistance for production and printing of more hand bills/posters, sanitizers, screening protocol as we intend to spread the IPC and awareness message to the Central and Southern zones of the state and distribute to hospitals/PHCs
3. Strengthen the public health emergency operation centre (PHEOC) and Disease Notification and surveillance system
4. Need for training on COVID-19 and other notifiable diseases and not waiting for outbreaks/pandemics only ( be proactive)
5. The COVID-19 pandemic serves as an eye opener to the state of preparedness of the state and situation of our health institutions especially state owned—Manpower and equipmentMay we suggest the extension of HCW who will retiring at this moment by 3 months
6. The need for a law backing activities for the control of highly infectious diseases
7. Improvement in welfare of healthcare workers- Hazard allowance, Life insurance
8. Expand testing for COVID-19- Adopt new testing strategy
9. Provision of isolation Accommodation for frontline Healthcare workers
10. As the lockdown in the state wine down we would also want to advice on additional strategies to protect the vulnerable, and the use of face cloth covering in public places in addition to other measures.
The Secretary to the Government of the State, Prof. Danladi Atu appreciated the group for the visit which he said was knowledge sharing and their recommendations to the government which he said will be carefully looked into. He lauded the roles they are playing in the fight against COVID-19.
The group donated hand sanitizers and awareness campaign materials to the government.
Also part of the delegation were renowned health professionals such as Dr. Bulus Jonathan, Dr. Dablet Ezra, Dr. Daniel Meshak, Dr. Louis Nwokolo, Dr. Miner Asabe, Pharm. Pyentim Ponfa, Pharm. Kim Bot, Nrs Lenka Mercy, Nrs Ndak Zuhumnan, Dr. Solomon Chollom, Matthew Adewale, Bakkuk Haruna and Dr. Mark Okolo.