Nigeria’s COVID-19 response powered by electronic data tool – NCDC

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The Federal Government has said that it is using an electronic data collecting tool developed during the Ebola outbreak to drive Nigeria’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated this at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19.

According to him, the centre is making use of data to drive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country for proper management.

“The agency developed an electronic data collecting tool after the Ebola outbreak. The tool was the reason why Nigerians see the data of cases every day. The NCDC also has a tool for logistics management. We can tell with this tool where every single mask, medical gown or sanitiser has gone,” Dr Ihekweazu stated.

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“We have a tool called Tatafo to help manage misinformation and develop targeted messages once we notice rumours or misinformation. We can give the data of every single person that has received any item from NCDC.”

“One of our biggest lessons from the 2014 Ebola outbreak was the need for electronic disease surveillance.

“We‘ve moved from paper-based to real-time reporting and analysis using the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS).

“This enables public health decision making on the country’s COVID-19 response.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, Dr Sani Aliyu, has said only the maximum support of Nigerians with the government and security agencies will quicken the process of coming out of the pandemic crisis at the soonest possible time.

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He also urged security agencies and state structures to provide support and supervision that will ensure compliance to the eased lockdown guidelines.

“Nigeria’s chances of coming out of this crisis sooner depends on absolute compliance of Nigerians to the eased lockdown guidelines. The Presidential Task Force continues to be very concerned about the level of compliance with the eased lockdown guidelines that we introduced last week across the country but most especially in Lagos.

“We have called on state security agencies and state structures to provide support and supervision that will ensure compliance to the eased lockdown guidelines. In this regard, we are appealing strongly to the public to cooperate with the state security agencies in the interest of public safety,” Aliyu said.

Speaking on the reasons for the ease of the lockdown, he remarked: “There is a very good reason why the PTF eased the lockdown last week. It was partly because we wanted to provide an opportunity to cushion Nigerians and by extension, opportunities for business to re-establish some economic activities towards the gradual re-opening of the Nigerian economy.

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“We also had a bundle of measures which we realised, if fully implemented, if fully delivered by everybody, would have the same impact with that of an absolute lockdown. I must emphasize that the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria is far from over. Our chances of coming out of this crisis sooner rather than later depends on our absolute compliance to the eased lockdown guidelines. We must do everything to prevent another spike and spread of the virus during the eased lockdown.”

On her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouq, while giving an update on federal palliatives measures, said the ministry has made progress on overhauling the school feeding programme pursuant to the directives of the president.

“We want to give take-home rations to the school children in conjunction with States. The school feeding programme will be carried out based on the data we have,” the minister said.

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