General news

WHO Regional Office for Africa / Press release



WHO Regional Office for Africa / Press release

AKURE, Nigeria, July 26, 2021/APO Group/ —

The World Health Organization (WHO) has supported Ondo State to integrate COVID-19 sample collection into the essential health care services. The intervention has led to an increase in the number of samples tested from an average of 70 to 321 per week, since the integration. 

The intervention was informed following a decline in most of the COVID-19 monitoring indices in the state. The number of samples tested decreased from 1080 in epidemiological week 05 (01-07 February 2021) to 225 samples in week 11 (15 -21 March), 2021. Also, the case to contact ratio during this period remained consistently low at 1:1, and 69% (73/105) of the active cases were under home-based care (HBC) in week 11 (15-21 March), 2021. 

With this situation, the State Ministry of Health (SMoH) approached WHO for support to implement activities to address the challenges. The objective was to scale up testing by expanding sample collection sites in the three hotspots LGAs of Akure South, Akure North, and Owo. Additionally, efforts were to improve monitoring of COVID-19 patients under Home Based Care (HBC), improve contact tracing for all positive cases and strengthen coordination through revitalization of weekly coordination meetings in the 3 priority LGAs and at State level.

With this in mind, WHO supported the state in the decentralization and integration of COVID-19 sample collections into the essential health care system.

This involved identification and training of 103 laboratorians/sample collectors (1 per health facility) across the three LGAs. These health facility staff, based within the facilities were trained on how to conduct daily screening, triaging and collection of samples from all identified suspected cases that either visited or were referred to the health facility. 

WHO equally supported monitoring of HBC and contact tracing through training of members of the Nigeria Red Cross Society residing across all wards on HBC monitoring and contact tracing. Selected LGAs and state level teams were supported to conduct supportive supervision at the LGA and health facility level to ascertain the status of the response activities.

Due to the inadequate availability of giostyles at the facilities, except for those in use for immunization, temporary sample storage coolers were procured to ensure proper storage of collected samples before collation and transport to the laboratory. To underscore the significance of the strategy, State Epidemiologist, Dr Stephen Fagbemi said that, “People at the local government level have capacity to response to the outbreak and there was no justification to over centralize the response.

With the intervention at the local government level, more COVID-19 cases have been detected as we have taken testing closer to the people… we commend this initiative as it is something that needs to be sustained and scaled up so we can find out what is happening in other LGAs,” he said

Preliminary results

Preliminary results show that, three weeks prior to the commencement of the intervention (03-23 March, 2021) an average of 70 samples were collected weekly across the state out of which an average of 12 cases were confirmed. During the period of the intervention, the number of weekly samples collected and tested in the State increased to an average of 321 samples weekly

In the three hotspot LGAs, the cumulative sample collection increased from 133 samples three weeks prior to commencement to a total of 808 (Akure South-336, Akure N-228, Owo-244) samples collected three weeks post commencement of WHO support 

The WHO State Coordinator, Dr. Akinola Fatiregun, at a stakeholder’s meeting said, ‘Prior to the intervention, only two sample collection sites were functional.  Currently, there are 103 active sample collection sites located across the health facilities, public and private, in the three LGAs being supported.

The support by WHO has fostered integration, has strengthened the Covid-19 response at the ward level, and upon completion may be a template that is replicable in other areas and for other outbreaks. 

WHO continues to provide data support for weekly EOC meetings at the state level and in the three hotspot LGAs

At a post intervention meeting to review impact of the intervention,  the Permanent Secretary Ondo State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Francis Akanbiemu, said, “We find this support very useful and important in addressing COVID-19 and hopefully, we’ll eventually  bring the pandemic  to zero level… we’re happy and grateful for WHO’s timely intervention and we hope that it can be extended to the other 15 LGAs.”

However, support is required to strengthen risk communication and community engagement, support Infection Prevention and Control among frontline workers, strengthen surveillance at points of entry and support integration of Covid-19 response activities in the other 15 LGAs in the state. 

Ondo State recorded its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on 3rd April 2020. Since then, the state has documented a total of 3500 confirmed cases including 65 deaths as of 19 July 2021 in two waves of the pandemic. 

Short Link:


NNN: :is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @

Recent Posts

Pageant offers special youth empowerment in showbiz HOSCON Youths Extols The Developmental Strides of President Buhari Thailand to cut quarantine for vaccinated tourists Germany’s Social Democrats win election but uncertainty beckons APC chieftain advises politicians to desist from rumour, malicious propaganda IOM restores community theater to promote social cohesion in Sabha, southern Libya Nigeria at 61: Access Bank to reward 14 customers with N1m each Rotary Club donates books to Stella Maris School, Abuja Legislative aides threaten to picket NASS over 2019 salary arrears 61st Independence : UK-based Nigerian Accountant charges citizens on country’s ownership Coronavirus – Angola: USG shares 464,090 additional doses of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine with Angola Envoy visits Russian Varsity, makes case for stranded Nigerian students Macron hit with egg during restaurant fair visit Rwanda: Round Ups-Linked to Commonwealth Meeting China calls for limits on 'non-medical' abortions Brussels waits to see who will govern Germany Running for harmony: Morobo residents celebrate International Day of Peace Dutch PM 'targeted for kidnapping by drug gangs': reports The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strengthens the network of Finnish missions abroad and invests in measures promoting the availability of skilled labor Coronavirus: 21% of adults now fully vaccinated, as South Africa emerges from third wave Reopening – call for experts from WHO regions of Africa and South-East Asia to join the Scientific Advisory Group on the Origins of New Pathogens (SAGO) Afghan saffron boss says Taliban will not silence her UNMISS educates Twic County residents in Warrap on revitalized peace deal Time For Urgent Action And Funds To Make Water Central To African Climate Policies Gabonese President Bongo pleaded for an inclusive energy transition Energy Capital & Power, Libya-Analysis LLC partner for the Libyan Energy and Economy Summit 2021 Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) wins Associations Advance Africa award for outstanding achievement in diversity and inclusion In good times as in bad times, rugby is the life of Sanaa Barakat, the unstoppable of Rugby Africa Gambia Ministry of Petroleum and Gambia National Petroleum Company to attend MSGBC 2021 Oil, Gas and Electricity Conference South Korea’s President Moon raises dog meat ban Africa Oil Week set to host first-ever in-person event in Dubai Fuel 'panic-buying' in UK could see army to rescue Nigerian Mission, Unions in Italy vow to get justice for murdered lady One dead in strong quake on Greek island of Crete Pelosi hints infrastructure delay as US Congress begins huge week Imo leads as NCDC reports 255 new COVID-19 infections UNGA 76: Nigeria seeks UN support against counter-terrorism Cleric tasks women on inculcating good morals in children, society CBN pledges more support for youth empowerment 5.7-magnitude quake shakes Philippines’ main island CAC intensifies support for FG War Against Corruption China's Xi warns of 'grim' situation with Taiwan Coronavirus – Malawi: Daily COVID-19 Information Update (September 26, 2021) Senate President inaugurates 30,000-bird farm in Yobe Coronavirus: Africa CDC joins Global Citizen Live Concert to push for vaccine equity United States Ambassador to the United Nations Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield pays courtesy visit to President Dr. Hage G. Geingob on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly UNGA-76: Buhari returns with “special assignment’’ from World body NDA 38th Regular Course marks 35th anniversary, members share experiences Falconets spank CAR 7-0 in U-20 women’s World Cup qualifiers Cyclone Gulab makes landfall in eastern India