By Chukwudi Nwauba

Awka, Dec. 4, 2020 (MOI) Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala says the state is the first in the country to train officers on COVID-19 Sero Prevalence Survey Study.

The officers have been drawn from the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state.

The essence of the study would be to find out why the state’s COVID-19 pandemic case rating was low.

It was also aimed at finding out people that might have contracted the disease without knowing and to generate answers to questions asked during the survey.

Dr Okpala made this known at the training of Tuberculosis Focal Persons from the 21 LGAs on the State COVID-19 pandemic Sero Prevalence Survey at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat, Awka.

The commissioner, the convener of the study emphasised the importance of the training of health officers that would carry out the exercise.

He noted that Anambra State was the first state in the country to embark on such a project, which was being sponsored by the Anambra Government.

“What you see that happened here is a new dawn; the Anambra COVID-19 Sero Prevalence Survey Study is a new dawn in the state’s Ministry of Health with regards the way we do things.

“Basically, you know we are in the pandemic, a lot of questions have been asked about a number of things that don’t have answers.

“This aspect is a research based aspect or research arm of engagement and we have actually decided to start asking questions or seeking answers to questions everybody has been asking.

“The training is a training of trainers at LG levels that will help to cascade the training down to the field workers at selected facilities.

“They are to help us to find out if there are people in the state whose blood samples showed that they were exposed to COVID-19 without them knowing and without confirmation from us,’’ he said.

The commissioner commended the State Government for providing the health ministry with necessary equipment to enable them to conduct the exercise.

“Why this exercise is different is because we are the first state in Nigeria to conduct a facility-based Sero Prevalence study.

“We started planning this over the past five months and we have strong consultants supporting this.

“The good thing is that it is fully funded by the state. It is first to happen in health and we are happy to be the first state that thought of doing it.

“This goes into our message of strengthening the healthcare system and we remember we always talk about six basic building blocks of a functional healthcare system; one of them is health management information system data.

“What this helps to do for us is to actually to provide data that we can use to plan in future after we have better understanding of the diseases we are dealing with.’’

According to him, the survey will last for 4 to 5 months and officers are expected to visit not less than 200 facilities to collect samples.

Dr Okpala encouraged them to ensure that they understand the sole aim of the study, what the ministry would be trying to accomplish and for them to be very serious while embarking on the study.

He appealed to the public to give full cooperation to officers in the field in order for them to ascertain who had been exposed to the disease. (MOI)

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