National Primary Health Care Development Agency: Preparedness and response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at primary healthcare and community level


1.0 Executive Summary

The emergence and global spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) poses a significant threat to public health globally, especially for health systems in low- and middleincome countries. Since the first case was reported in Nigeria on 27 February 2020, the rise in the number of cases has been exponential. Although most of the COVID-19 cases recorded so far have been among travelers returning from COVID-19 reporting-countries to Nigeria, community transmission is imminent, and may have already begun. The ability to effectively respond to public health emergencies such as this is strongly influenced by the extent to which such emergencies have been assessed in advance and prepared for with corresponding prevention and mitigation measures.

Primary health care is the bedrock of the Nigerian health system and the first level of contact between Nigerians and their health system. The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, in line with its mandate to provide technical and programmatic support to states on the development of Primary Healthcare in Nigeria, has deemed it necessary to augment the national COVID-19 disease control efforts by the setup and implementation of an effective response system at the Primary Health Care and Community levels. Control of community transmission will be achieved if Primary Health Centers and the communities they serve are strengthened and supported to take appropriate measures to limit the spread of this disease.

This document sets out the preparedness and response plan of the Nigerian Primary Health Care System for COVID-19 Acute Respiratory Disease. It outlines the planning scenarios, key areas of work and priority activities required for the Primary Health Care Sector to quickly scale up its core capacity to prevent, quickly detect, characterize and efficiently respond, in a coordinated manner to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include guidelines for the setup and operationalization of COVID-19 response platforms at the national and state levels, guidelines for the provision of PHC services during the pandemic to minimize transmission in PHCs as well as guidelines for preparedness and response of PHC Centres and communities for COVID-19 case detection and response.

It is expected that this document will be regularly updated in line with progression or regression of the disease as well as emerging evidence of interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.