By Asma’u Ahmad
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says it is working towards establishing treatment centres in the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to ensure quick response to infectious diseases in the country.
Director-General of the centre, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this on Tuesday in an interview with newsmen in Abuja. Ihekweazu explained that the treatment and isolation centres would be established in collaboration with state governments by the end of next year where such facilities were lacking.
“There are confirmed cases of Lassa fever in 22 states; some of them have one or two sporadic cases but our goal is to have a treatment centre in every state capital.
“They won’t all be at the same level and the same capacity but our hope by the end of next year is to have treatment and isolation centre as well as an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) in every state capital in Nigeria.
“This will help to coordinate the response to infectious diseases from our Incidence Coordination Centre (ICC) at the headquarters with all the EOCs in the various state capitals.
“We already have EOCs in 12 states and they were established within the last two years, but gradually we keep increasing.
“So, step by step, we are covering the entire country with our Emergency Operation Centres as well as treatment and isolation centres for infectious diseases,” Ihekweazu said.
According to him, plans have been intensified for the inauguration of Plateau, Anambra and Rivers EOCs in April. This, Ihekweazu said would bring the total number of EOCs in the country to 15. He noted that NCDC often collaborates with the state ministries of health in establishing the centres.
The NCDC DG said “The state provides the building, while NCDC goes in to equip it with all the communication equipment needed.
“NCDC also provides the infrastructure, the telecom, the screen; we train them for a period of two weeks and mentor them for another two weeks, and then we hand it over to them to run.
“We keep on supporting airtime for communication and things like that to make sure internet access are working; we have now done this in 12 states and we will continue state by state.
“It is not a very simple thing to do because states have to identify a location and we see if that location is appropriate and all of that.
Ihekweazu pointed out that Nasarawa State Government was already constructing and equipping a large treatment centre for infectious diseases which would be integrated into the network of treatment centres in the country.
“I visited the centre about a month ago and great progress has been made and we are supporting the state and advising them on what to do,” he added.