PREPARING FOR THE DISEASE OUTBREAK SEASON
Epidemiological data shows an increase in the number of cases of some infectious diseases at the end of the year (when the dry season starts) in Nigeria. This is most relevant for diseases like Lassa fever and Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM). As we work to improve on our outbreak response system, it is important for all levels to commence preparedness activities. This week’s editorial focuses on very essential preparedness activities that the LGA, State and National should embark on.
• Increased surveillance activities at the community level.
• (Re) Engagement of community informants for surveillance
• Mentoring for healthcare workers by the LGA Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) on enhancing surveillance activities in their health facilities
• Improving event-based surveillance system to pick up information on rumours and discussions on diseases
• Stock-taking and purchase of necessary reagents and supplies for testing • Quality Assurance checks for testing
• Scheduling equipment maintenance checks to be carried out
• Re-orientation of laboratory personnel on sample management procedures
• Ensuring availability of Personal Protective Equipment for sample collection
• Functionality checks on mobile laboratory units and stocking up with required consumables
• Establishing a logistics management system, if not in place
• Requisition for drugs and consumables using recent Epidemiological data as guide
• Scheduling a distribution pattern for drug and consumables, when the need arises
4. Risk Communication/Social Mobilisation
• Massive sensitisation campaigns about upcoming disease outbreak seasons (print, electronic and social media)
• Printing and distribution of instructional, educational and communication materials on diseases
• Partnering with social and religious groups to have messages about outbreaks spread to their members, particularly as multiple end-of-year activities are being planned and using these as avenues to spread such messages
• Collaborating with surveillance officers to identify more community informants
• Setting up an emergency operation centre (EOC)in watch mode and activated as required
• Advocacy for readiness and resources needed for outbreak response
• Planning for staff mobilisation when an outbreak commences and the EOC fully activated
• Establish/re-establish communication linkages with States and LGAs and sensitize them on impending outbreaks
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been able to support States’ to develop individual preparedness plans for specific disease outbreaks. States are encouraged to, in line with the activities mentioned above, commence preparedness for these outbreaks.