Nigeria is currently at a critical stage in the fight against the COVID-19 global pandemic. According to the latest data (as at 27th April) by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the country currently has over 1200 confirmed cases scattered across 32 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
With tension running high and so much uncertainty looming regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian government and private organizations are stepping forward to help flatten the curve. Here are some locally-driven positive developments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria:
1. Government ramps up COVID-19 testing:
Based on recent directives by the NCDC, COVID-19 testing has been scaled up in various states across the country, with Lagos; the epicenter of the outbreak, now embarking on house-to-house testing in an attempt to curb community transmission of the virus. So far, the Federal Ministry of Health in conjunction with some state governments, has set up 15 accredited COVID-19 testing labs with a total capacity to conduct 2,500 tests daily. Some private laboratories in Lagos and Abuja are also in the process of accreditation for COVID-19 testing. While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases are still rising, on average only 11.7% out of 10,918 sample testing carried out till date have tested positive for COVID-19.
2. Support and donations from private individuals and organizations:
Private individuals and organizations in recent weeks, have shown solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. Through the formation of a privately-funded committee called the Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID), headed by Africa’s wealthiest man -- Aliko Dangote. Over $55.7 billion has been raised to support the fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria. Also, a large number of wealthy individuals and private organizations have shown support to the government by donating cash, medical equipment, and isolation centers to help fight the pandemic.
3. Procurement of life insurance for health workers:
The federal government recently set in motion its major plan to provide medical and life insurance for health workers involved in the war against COVID-19. The secretary to the Federal Government at the Presidential Taskforce briefing on Friday, April 24, 2020 confirmed that the sum of N500 million has been mobilized towards the initiative. So far, the government has procured insurance cover of 5,000 for frontline health workers. This major development would clearly help ensure that medical workers across the country discharge their duties properly. Further, over 10,000 Nigerian healthcare workers have been trained in managing COVID-19 cases.
4. Post-economic impact assessment:
In an attempt to limit the economic impact that the pandemic might have on the nation, the federal government recently mobilized a 7-person team of economic experts, headed by the Vice President; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. The key task of the committee is to take charge of the assessment and implementation of economic policies and programs aimed at lifting the country out of its economic challenges as a result of, the current pandemic.
Following the assessment of the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians, the government has approved the gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states effective from Monday, 4th May, 2020. However, Kano state remain in total lockdown given the severity of the situation. This is accompanied by new nationwide measures to protect the people such as 8pm – 6am curfews, ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travel, ban on religious/social gatherings, partial and controlled interstate movement, and mandatory use of face masks.
Still craving? check out our next article on “Economic Measures Taken to Reduce the Impact of COVID-19 on Citizens and Businesses in Nigeria”
Author Credit: Pius, Ima-Abasi Joseph