AIPMED

ANNALS OF IBADAN POSTGRADUATE MEDICINE

REALITIES OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA: COPING WITH THE CHALLENGES AND CHARTING A WAY FORWARD

O.S. Ilesanmi1,2 and O.F. Fagbule3

  1. Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
  2. Department of Community Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria
  3. Department of Periodontology and Community Dentistry, University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria 

ABSTRACT

The impacts of COVID-19 have cut across both developed and developing countries alike. This has prompted different coping mechanisms for survival through these trying times. The reality of stigmatization in this period has negatively affected health-seeking behavior and public response to the outbreak. Challenges exist at both the community and the healthcare providing facilities. We present a review of best practices in coping with COVID-19. Our focus is on how to cope with the challenges and strategies to improve the response to the pandemic in Nigeria. It is required that safety measures be fully adopted and practiced by individuals and groups. Collaborative efforts are required by all stakeholders, government, healthcare workers, and private organizations to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic, avoid stigmatization, and ease the return journey to normalcy.

Keywords: COVID-19, Infection prevention and control, Healthcare workers, Personal protective equipment, Pandemic

Correspondence

Dr. O.S. Ilesanmi

Department of Community Medicine,

College of Medicine,

University of Ibadan,

Ibadan

Email:ileolasteve@yahoo.co.uk


Overview of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The recent outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2) has shaken the entire globe like a convulsing child1 . The impacts of the disease have cut across both developed and developing countries alike2,3. At the early stage of the outbreak, many disregarded the existence of the infection. A few tried to shy away, while others were optimistic regarding the near end of the pandemic. Regardless of perceptions among individuals, the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have swept across the entire human race like a whirlwind with several challenges, although with varying levels of severity2,3,4. The adoption of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures has helped maintain a minimal infection rate; however, these have also intensified the negative effects associated with this period5,6. The innate ability for adaptation to prevailing conditions among humans has prompted coping mechanisms for survival through these trying times. 

Globally, it is currently estimated that nearly 15 million persons have been confirmed as COVID-19 cases, with about 616,000 deaths7 . Similar to others, the African region has not been exempted from the COVID-19 experience with as high as 736,587 cases and 15,424 fatalities7 . A daily rise in the number of COVID-19 cases is being recorded in Nigeria, with a current estimate of 37,801 cases and 805 deaths as of 22nd July, 20207,8. In Nigeria, Lagos State is the epicenter of COVID-19 and makes up nearly a third of confirmed cases in the country. Other highly infectious areas include the Federal Capital Territory, Oyo, and Edo States8 . A larger proportion of these infections occur at the community level, and this has encountered different perceptions and reactions9 . We present a review of best practices in coping with COVID-19. Our focus is on how to cope with the challenges and chat strategies to improve the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.