Many Nigerians are at risk of dying from diseases and chronic health conditions that can be treated well in the country due to lack of access to medical care and remoteness from health facilities.
To meet this challenge and save the lives of Nigerians living in the hinterland, the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Center for Disease Control (CDC) of Nigeria and several implementing partners have adopted the ECHO model for HIV/TB clinical mentorship and program support.
The objective is to build the capacity of health workers in the areas of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, COVID-19, cancer, intensive care, IPC, NCDs, palliative care, agriculture, education and many other fields.
Speaking at the meeting organized by the Public Health Information System in collaboration with the CDC in Abuja, West African ECHO (WARE) Coordinator Dr. Azuka Nnaji said there is a lot of pressure on health facilities in cities across Nigeria. and Africa in general because patients believe the expertise is in the cities and many people lose their lives trying to come from the villages to the city.
She explained that ECHO was developed to move knowledge rather than people, adding that thanks to ECHO’s partners, more and more underserved Nigerian citizens are now able to get the right medical care, at the right time. time, in their local communities.
Nnaji said the meeting was expected to bring together various organizations in Nigeria that use the ECHO Hepatitis, HIV, COVID-19 platform and use ECHO in agriculture, education and other areas.
She said: “This is the first national meeting with organizations using the ECHO platform. It all started in Mexico in 2003 when a doctor lost a patient who was trying to come from the hinterland to the city for treatment for hepatitis but died on the way. The West Africa regional ECHO was used to train incident managers in the West Africa sub-region on COVID-19. It was a sustainable instrument to train them, now that there is fatigue related to COVID-19, we are integrating other diseases of public health concern, including non-communicable diseases. The idea is to build the capacity of health workers in the villages so that they don’t have to come from the villages to the city to learn. Patients don’t have to come to cities to be able to see a doctor. More than 500 installations in Nigeria are connected to the platform. The main objective is to save lives.
Also speaking, Project Manager within Public Health Surveillance and Information Systems (PHIS 3), Prosper Onyekachukwu, said more than 6,000 people have benefited from the project every week since 2018, adding that the project contributes to building the capacity of health and health workers. establishments that provide services to patients.
He said: “We are training nurses, doctors, pharmacists, counselors on how to provide better services to patients to achieve epidemic control and reduce new infections. We are working towards zero detection. ECHO has been in Nigeria since 2017 and has since progressed towards sustaining Positive Impact for Epidemic Control in Nigeria (SPiCE ECHO) involving all 500 CDC-supported facilities to showcase coverage in other areas of diseases beyond HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and other non-communicable diseases. diseases.”
For her part, an NCDC deputy director, Dr. Fatima Saleh, observed that the Center is a key player in the ECHO project, adding that the ECHO platform has been used to build the capacity of incident managers in the center of public health emergency operations.
She noted that the project would strengthen the health system, as a skilled workforce is essential to strengthen any health system and provide quality health services.