WHO supports COVID-19 surveillance in Nigeria

The World Health Organisation is supporting engagement of more than 670 Auto-Visual Acute Flaccid Paralysis Detection and Reporting informants to conduct house-to-house Coronavirus Disease surveillance in Nigeria.

In a statement from WHO Regional Office for Africa, the WHO Nigeria Representative/Head of Mission, Dr. Kazadi Mulombo, described AVADAR as critical for community-based surveillance for any disease outbreak and indeed handy for COVID-19 surveillance at the community level.

“Leveraging AVADAR’s structure for strengthening community-based surveillance for COVID-19 was borne out of the successful experience of the system in detecting suspected cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis for polio surveillance.

“This, therefore, justifies why WHO has deployed its AVADAR informants to penetrate communities, identify suspected cases of COVID-19 and provide real-time reports to the appropriate authorities for targeted response,” he said.

A Kano State-based AVADAR informant, identified simply as Mustapha, said, “We are trusted by community members because we are integral to the communities where we work.

“We speak the same language and are known by our communities since the days of AFP surveillance for polio. Thus, engaging the communities, penetrating the households and getting the real facts about suspected COVID-19 cases in high risk wards is easy and achievable.”

WHO is supporting engagement of more than 670 AVADAR informants to conduct house-to-house surveillance and report suspected COVID-19 cases, sensitise and support contact tracing in 731 wards across 11 COVID-19 high risk states.

The informants have provided more than 85,000 households with COVID-19 preventive messages in Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Bauchi, Taraba, Borno and Yobe states.

Nigeria is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak. As of February 24, 2021, the country had confirmed 153,842 cases of the pandemic, with 1,885 deaths.

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