Amidst concerns surrounding the current surge of diphtheria cases in multiple Nigerian states, the Anambra State Government has initiated a two-day residential training program for its Disease Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNO).
The aim is to proactively prevent the spread of diphtheria and other communicable diseases within the State.
The training includes participation from Officers in charge (OIC) of Federal, State, and Mission Health facilities within the State.
During the opening declaration of the training in Awka on Monday, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Afam Obidike, highlighted the government’s committed efforts in response to the diphtheria outbreaks observed in various states across Nigeria.
He addressed journalists, emphasizing the significance of the government’s proactive measures in handling these health challenges.
He said the Health Surveillance Officers are drawn from the 21 local government areas of the State.
According to the Commissioner, the training is to equip them with preventive skill techniques on how they can go about preventing a sudden outbreak of disease in their various council areas.
Their responsibility is to collect samples of any outbreak in their respective areas and notify the relevant ministry or agency for prompt action, especially, at this harmattan period, where some respiratory tract infections could be high.
This is the structure we used in fighting when the State witnessed monkeypox, Lassa, yellow, and measle. We use the measure to identify diseases sometimes and have them treated. It is a training of trainers (TOT) Programme. At the end of the workshop, the trainees will go down to their various council areas to train others.
“So I urged them to make use of the training for the good of Ndi-Anambra, Obidike solicited.
The State Epidemiologist, Dr. Emembolu Chuma, in his welcome address, said this is the first time such training can be held in Anambra State and the South East region at large.
“This is the first time such a health preventive programme in the South East region will be organised, whereby a sitting governor will release funds to prevent a disease outbreak.
“We are training the DSNO and other health care providers due to the current outbreak of diphtheria in Nigeria. If you can recall, Nigeria recorded the first case in 2022 December in Kano State. Governor Charles Soludo, being a people-oriented governor, dimed-it-fit to release funds for us to prepare for the diphtheria outbreak in case it comes into Anambra State. So we are grateful for the kind support.
Dr Chuma who is also the convener of the programme noted that the training was solely sponsored by the State government without any support from any Health partners in Nigeria and beyond.