Anambra State Government has introduced COVID-19 chain of survival strategies for early intervention in handling of the virus so as to ensure low death rate.
Commissioner for Health, Vincent Okpala, said this during the conclusion of a two-day refresher training course for private healthcare providers at Ministry of Health Conference Hall, Awka.
Dr Okpala attributed the number of deaths recorded so far in the state to late presentation of cases by patients and diagnoses by health personnel, noting the need for early intervention strategy.
He expressed concerns over the spike in the number of cases since the emergence of the second wave of the pandemic, compared to the first.
According to him, Anambra recorded one of the least number of positive cases during the first wave but as it stands now, the state is recording more positive cases.
“Private healthcare providers who are closer to the people should be the first port of call for any patient.
“They have the power to give medical advice and save more patients, if they do the right thing,’’ he said.
The commissioner noted that more than 10,000 tests were conducted between Dec. 7, 2020 and January 31, with 1,053 positive cases and 19 deaths.
“But we can record low cases and no deaths, if we can do the right thing and adopt the state’s COVID-19 chain of survival strategies, which is about compliance with safety protocols.
“It is also about early recognition of symptoms, early identification with the system, early diagnosis and initiation of treatment by healthcare personnel, early contact tracing, early notification of results and initial treatment.
“The state has invested more resources in containing the spread of COVID-19 but the major problem has been a lack of compliance.
“People and even some doctors will be treating malaria or typhoid and refuse to call for COVID-19 test until the patient starts experiencing shortness of breath or hypoxia and at that point, it may be difficult to handle such a case.
“We are training the private healthcare providers so we can have a unified practice in the handling of the pandemic and ensure early treatment as delay is dangerous,’’ Okpala said.
He advised the public to continue to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols, such as regular hand washing and use of facemasks, to protect themselves against the virus.
“Be an advocate for the ministry’s work in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Keep on following the right, which is the standard set by the ministry in treating patients”.
State Focal Person on Infection and Prevention Control, Dr Kenneth Nwokolo, said the state had initiated policies to tackle the disease, including tracing, testing and treatment.
He urged healthcare providers to work with the COVID-19 sample collectors in the 21 local government areas of the state.
“In the case of COVID-19, everybody is vulnerable. So, health professionals in the state should treat every case of malaria as COVID-19 until proven otherwise,’’ Dr Nwokolo said.
He advised health professionals to commence treatment protocol immediately; once anybody presents any of the symptoms, even before the test result comes out.
According to him, the treatment protocol includes the supportive therapy adopted by the state in the management of COVID-19 patients.
“This will make the disease not progress to severe stage and casualties reduced,’’ he said.