CONTAINING THE RISKS OF CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC IN NIGERIA A STUDY OF NCDC
Epidemic risk is complex, but policymakers have tools they can deploy in response. Some tools minimize the likelihood of outbreaks or limit their proliferation. Others attempt to minimize the health impact of outbreaks that cannot be prevented or immediately contained. Still others aim to minimize the economic impact.
Investing in improved sanitation, provisioning of clean water, and better urban infrastructure can reduce the frequency of human contact with pathogenic agents. Building strong health systems and supporting proper nutrition will help ensure good baseline levels of health, making people less susceptible to infection. Of course, strengthening basic systems, services, and infrastructure becomes easier with economic growth and development; however, policies to protect spending in these areas even when budgets are constrained can help safeguard developing economies from major health shocks that could significantly impinge upon human capital and impede economic growth.
Investment in reliable disease surveillance in both human and animal populations is also critical. Within formal global surveillance systems, it may be beneficial to develop incentives for reporting suspected outbreaks, as countries may reasonably fear the effects of such reporting on trade, tourism, and other economic outcomes. The Corovirus epidemic, for instance, might have been better contained if China had reported the initial outbreak to the WHO earlier.
Informal surveillance systems, such as ProMED and HealthMap, which aggregate information from official surveillance reports, media reports, online discussions and summaries, and eyewitness observations, can also help Nigeria centre for disease control (NCDC)and international responders get ahead of the epidemiological curve during the early stages of an outbreak. Social media offers additional opportunities for early detection of shifts in infectious disease incidence like Coronavirus.
Nigeria and other Countries should be ready to take initial measures to limit the spread of coronavirus . Historically, ships were quarantined in port during plague epidemics to prevent the spread of the disease to coastal cities. In the case of highly virulent and highly transmissible diseases, quarantines may still be necessary, although they can inspire concerns about human rights. Likewise, it may be necessary to ration biomedical countermeasures if supplies are limited. Countries should decide in advance if they will prioritize first responders and other key personnel or favor vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly.
Technological solutions can help minimize the burden of sizable coronavirus outbreaks and epidemics. Better and less costly treatments including novel antibiotics and antivirals to counter coronavirus are sorely needed. New and improved vaccines are perhaps even more important.
We cannot predict which pathogen will spur the next major epidemic after coronavirus, where that epidemic will originate, or how dire the consequences will be. But as long as humans and infectious pathogens coexist, outbreaks and epidemics are certain to occur and to impose significant costs. The upside is that we can take proactive steps to manage the risk of epidemics and mitigate their impact. Concerted action now at the local, national, and multinational levels can go a long way toward protecting our collective well-being in the future.