Covid-19: How to tackle the growing numbers now

Steve Aborisade

By Steve Aborisade

So earlier today there was a report that Ghana added 1,032 new cases to its Covid-19 burden, 10 days after easing lockdown. In reality, that would be a modest figure if we  compare with what the trend in Nigeria is projecting with figures of the last 4 days. With improved capacity by NCDC to test more people, Nigeria’s figure will have an exponential growth. And the implication of that is what is already manifesting in Lagos with bed spaces for patients already inadequate. 

Between Monday, April 27, and Thursday, April 30, new Covid-19 cases in Nigeria stood at 659 with 17 deaths, while 64 people were successfully managed and discharged. Our worries should not now be the increasing numbers, because the numbers will continue to increase with expanded testing and, with the lockdown that gets relaxed from Monday, May 4, we should expect increased harvests on a daily basis going forward. The attention now should be on our capacity to contain the growing numbers. And this is where I am afraid we might run into trouble if we do not respond quickly enough. 

New makeshift isolation centres must spring up as a matter of necessity and, around the epicenters of the disease to ease the burdens on Lagos, Abuja and Kano. 

So Ogun may come handy to host cases Lagos may be unable to admit. Similar arrangements may come into place in Abuja and Kano. 

Kano is particularly important now, given the population, their denialism, quality of healthcare infrastructure and, the general fatalistic outlook of majority. Fatalism may be one reason Kano’s case might go beyond control with the level of denial already in place. 

This is the time to put the funds raised to use. One important strategy we may also revert to is to harvest private level infrastructure and expertise to bridge the gap. The first fault line is inadequate hospital beds, the next would be overworked responders who can’t give their best again. Like it was done in HIV management where private healthcare facilities are recruited to manage the disease under the supervision of the Ministry of Health, we must start now to identify private facilities to come onboard, equip them and train their staff to be able to complement ongoing effort under the direct supervision and oversight from the NCDC and the Ministry of Health. 

The WHO also have a robust Covid-19 home management policy in place, we must also engage that and review its practicability in our context, with what we know already that 80% of Covid-19 cases actually do not need hospitalization. 

In similar regard, Nigeria must give a listening ear to our traditional medical practitioners, especially those who have submitted their covid 19 curative portions to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research for tests. If they are confident enough to submit themselves to test, why can’t we embrace that instead of flirting with Madagascar?

The point is, we should not be caught unawares, we had enough time to anticipate and prepare. 

May God help us, if we are ready to help ourselves.