Jos - In Plateau state, north-central Nigeria, the number of COVID-19 positive patients was on the rise between August and September, following a major push in sample collection and testing. The state, a picturesque region and a major mining hub in the West African country, reinforced efforts to systematically and widely test (10,000 tests per week) its 4.615,698 million population based on available resources, resulting in the significant numbers recorded. However, health workers in the state faced a challenge: Case numbers were rising faster than the available bed spaces, thus there was a need to innovate. States across the country also face similar scenarios and are trying to implement innovations to adapt. One solution Plateau State has adopted, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO), is the Home-Based Care method of treatment, which sees asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 treated in their homes with regular visits from health workers. In some cases, patients are treated as ‘outpatients’, that is, they come to the hospitals at scheduled times while maintaining prevention measures including physical distancing of at least one meters, hand washing and mask wearing. Health workers in the state say the strategy has relieved hospitals and has also worked for patients who prefer to receive treatment in the comfort of their own homes. So far, 99.5% of COVID-19 patients are being treated under the Home-Based Care (HBC) strategy than as in-patients in treatment centres, just as rising infections have slowed down.
Dr Rex Mpazanje; Email: mpazanjer [at] who.int; Tel: +234 803 960 0874
Dr Williams Wadzingi; Email: wadzingiwil [at] who.int; Tel: +234 703 490 3060
“I advise them on personal hygiene in this trying period and on washing their hands, wearing facemasks and social distancing,” says Nurse Zaharau Aminu Baba, 29. But many patients do not follow the guidelines, Nurse Baba says. “It’s a real problem for us health workers.”
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Email: warigonc [at] who.int