Coronavirus – Nigeria: Community informants use mobile data collection tools to strengthen COVID-19 surveillance



With the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, WHO-a> is helping the government leverage the existing Acute Flaccid Paralysis Automatic Detection and Reporting System (AVADAR) to strengthen community-based disease surveillance. In 731 departments across eleven (11) states at high risk of COVID-19, WHO is supporting the engagement of more than 670 AVADAR informants to conduct internal surveillance for COVID-19 and report suspected cases of COVID-19, raise awareness and support contact tracing in communities.

So far, informants have delivered COVID 19 prevention messages to more than 85,000 households in Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Bauchi, Taraba, Borno and Yobe states.

“Community members trust us because we are an integral part of the communities in which we work,” says Mustapha, an AVADAR informant based in Kano state. “We speak the same language and have been known to our communities since the days of AFP polio surveillance. Thus, involving communities, penetrating households and getting the real facts about suspected cases of COVID-19 in high-risk neighborhoods is easy and achievable, ”said Mustapha.

Early detection and rapid notification of COVID-19, especially in rural and semi-urban communities, is essential to controlling the spread of COVID-19. AVADAR informants are trained in the use of mobile data collection to ensure real-time notification of suspected cases from communities. Therefore, the AVADAR structure serves as an entry point for early detection and response to the epidemic. In addition, informants support case contact tracing and awareness raising using local languages ​​and an appropriate cultural mix of communities. Therefore, they play a key role in increasing the sensitivity of surveillance, contact tracing and notification at the community level.

In Kano State, WHO-supported AVADAR informants sensitized more than 23,000 households to the risks. During their stay in Sokoto, informants empowered more than 25,000 households with non-pharmaceutical COVID-19 intervention strategies.

Speaking about the intervention, WHO Representative / Head of Mission in Nigeria, Dr Kazadi Mulombo, said AVADAR is essential for community surveillance of any disease outbreak and indeed practical for surveillance. of COVID-19 at the community level. “The use of the AVADAR structure to strengthen community surveillance of COVID-19 arose from the successful experience of the Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) Suspected Case Detection System (AFP) for polio surveillance,” says Dr Mulombo . “This therefore justifies why the WHO has deployed its AVADAR informants to penetrate communities, identify suspected cases of COVID and provide real-time reports to the relevant authorities for a targeted response.”

Prior to the deployment of AVADAR informants, WHO developed a standard case definition of COVID-19 in audio format in major languages, strengthened the capacity of AVADAR informants on additional responsibilities to support the COVID-19 response in accordance with ” Do No Harm ”and“ Due Diligence ”Principles and equipped them with adequate IEC materials to facilitate outreach, active case finding and contact tracing.

Nigeria is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 outbreaks. As of February 24, 2021, Nigeria has confirmed 153,842 cases of COVID-19, including 1,885 deaths. COVID-19 can be prevented by social distancing, wearing face masks, and regularly washing hands with soap under running water.

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