Enugu State Government on Wednesday rolled out Pharmacists and Proprietary/Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs) COVID-19 Suspect Reporting Tool to strengthen early case detection and prevent further spread in communities.
The tool was developed by the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Pillar of the State Ministry’s Emergency Operations Centre.
At the presentation of the tool to members of Community Pharmacists and PPMVs in Enugu, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Ikechukwu Obi, said that the tool would greatly enhance early case detection of COVID-19.
Obi also said that the tool would serve as a model that other states in the country might copy in responding to the pandemic.
He praised the state’s IPC Pillar for efforts toward developing the tool.
“The roles of Community Pharmacists and PPMV members are key to effective healthcare delivery in our communities since they are usually the first port of call for sick community members,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the tool, which had been produced in booklet form, would be distributed free to Community Pharmacists and members of PPMVs in the state.
He said that by the action, Community Pharmacists and PPMVs had also been co-opted into the Local Government COVID-19 Rapid Response Team.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeanyi Agujobi, said that the tool was a timely addition to the already laid down COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control practices.
Agujobi urged Community Pharmacists and PPMVs to make good use of the tool.
Dr Eddy Ndibuagu, the state Infection Prevention and Control Focal Person, who took Community Pharmacists and PPMVs through the use of the tool, said that Nigeria Centre for Disease Centre’s case definition for COVID-19 suspect was used in developing the tool.
Ndibuagu said: “The tool essentially, is used in identifying COVID-19 suspects early, and preventing them from spreading the infection in communities. This is a form of triaging.
“Community Pharmacists and PPMVs are encouraged to set aside a place where these identified suspects can be kept, while the Local Government Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) and State Emergency Operations Centre are alerted.’’
In a goodwill message, Dr Ada Erinne, World Health Organisation Coordinator in South-East states, lauded the state government for coming out with an initiative to deepen containment of COVID-19.
Erinne said that the initiative would involve more stakeholders in the fight against the virus at the community level.
“It is good that these two critical stakeholders on health at the local and community levels are brought in to broaden and strengthen the fight against the pandemic for more effective results,’’ Erinne said.
Mr Ken Amafidegbe, the Secretary of Community Pharmacists, Enugu State Branch, noted that most countries that had fought COVID-19 successfully had to think outside the box.
“With this tool, which is a product of thinking outside the box, I believe better and more results will start coming,’’ Amafidegbe said.
Chief Cyprian Ekpete, President of PPMVs Enugu State, assured the state government and other stakeholders that PPMVs would comply to safeguard the health of all.
“We will work in active partnership with the government, health partners and other stakeholders in order to use this new tool effectively,’’ Ekpete assured.