A perspective on Nigeria's preparedness, response and challenges to mitigating the spread of COVID-19

Anyanwu, Madubuike Umunna ; Festus, Ishmael Jaja ; Nwobi, Obichukwu Chisom ; Jaja, Chinwe-Juliana Iwu ; Oguttu, James Wabwire (2020-09-21)

CITATION: Anyanwu, M. U. et al. 2020. A perspective on Nigeria's preparedness, response and challenges to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Challenges, 11(2):22, doi:10.3390/challe11020022.

The original publication is available at https://www.mdpi.com

Article

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel disease pandemic that emerged in late 2019 in China, and later spread to other parts of the world, including Nigeria. This review analyzes the preparedness of Nigeria to the COVID-19 pandemic and recommends strategies that could be useful in controlling the disease. Published articles on COVID-19 worldwide, socioeconomic and disease status and preparedness to COVID-19 in Africa and Nigeria, were retrieved from databases such as Pubmed, MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Knowledge and Google search engine. Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world, and is one of the largest crude oil producers in the world. However, its healthcare system is dilapidated and weak, due to years of neglect and widespread corruption. As a result, Nigeria is vulnerable to COVID-19, as evidenced by the current geographical distribution of the disease in its population. Many socioeconomic factors could potentially facilitate the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. This could lead to a high caseload in the country, which could overwhelm the health care system. The application of social distancing, personal hygiene, especially hand hygiene and mask-wearing, as practiced in many countries, has proven to be effective to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In Nigeria, social distancing, in many instances, may be impracticable, given its large population, and a high density of people living in crowded conditions like slums and camps. Moreover, there is a sizeable population of internally displaced people, due to the attack by Boko Haram fighters in Northern Nigeria, and herdsmen in Southern Nigeria. The implementation of these measures is likely to be a great challenge. Nigeria has announced a complete lockdown for the containment of COVD-19, but its implementation and efficacy are doubtful, due to the same reasons previously mentioned.

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