NCDC, Africa CDC convene training to strengthen coronavirus preparedness in Africa

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Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) and with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Infection Control Network Africa (ICAN), has convened a training meeting on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) to strengthen preparedness for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Africa.

The agency in a statement on Friday said the NCDC and Africa CDC in collaboration with WHO and ICAN would train representatives from across Africa on IPC for COVID-19.

The training meeting is scheduled to take place from 21 – 25 February, 2020 in Abuja.

It added that the training would provide participants with improved capacity for the prevention and/or control of COVID-19, continuous learning opportunities and inclusion into the COVID-19 IPC focal persons’ network for the African region.

The agency said this experience would also create advocacy for improved commitment to infection prevention and control principles in African Union Member States.

As at 20 February, 2020, over 75,748 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,129 deaths have been reported to WHO since 7th of January 2020.

African countries are at-risk of the ongoing epidemic because of the significant travel and trade connections with China.

On 30th January, the 2020, the WHO Director-General declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and urged Member Countries to strengthen preparedness for prevention and response to COVID-19.

One of the most important areas to prepare for is to prevent transmission in health care settings, through appropriate infection prevention and control.

In response to the potential spread of the outbreak to African Union Member States (MS), the Africa CDC activated its Emergency Operations Centre on 27 January, 2020.

On 3 February, 2020, the Director General of the Africa CDC inaugurated a task force during a meeting with representatives of National Public Health Institutes in Africa to support pan-African coordination of coronavirus prevention, detection and response.

The task force consists of five working groups: surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control as well as clinical management of COVID-19 infection.

Nigeria through her National Public Health Institute, NCDC was identified to lead the IPC working group tasked with strengthening IPC capacity across Africa.

Infection prevention and control measures cut across all other working groups and it is critical for strengthening preparedness and response activities for COVID-19.

The Federal Ministry of Health through NCDC and its partners remain fully committed to strengthening preparedness and response to infectious disease outbreaks.

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