COVID-19: NCDC To Introduce Pan-Respiratory Virus, Wastewater/Environmental Surveillance

The Nigerian Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) has disclosed that it will introduce pan-respiratory Virus and wastewater/environmental surveillance.

This is part of the agency’s efforts to continue its fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.

PLATFORMTIMES recalls that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Friday, declared that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

The Director General of WHO, Dr
Tedros Ghebreyesus said the declaration was made after a careful review of current evidence that shows there is high population-level immunity from the SARS-CoV-2 infection, improved knowledge of the virus and management of confirmed COVID-19 cases, decline in the global burden of the virus and also a steady increase in vaccine uptake across countries.

He added that the declaration was to enable countries’ transition from acute
emergency response to managing COVID-19 as part of integrated healthcare delivery for all infectious diseases.

Meanwhile, Nigeria had already de-escalated its COVID-19 response since 2022 in response to local epidemiology, focused on encouraging COVID-19 vaccination and recommended public health safety measures according to personal risk assessments.

Reacting to the declaration by WHO, the the Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja explained that the de-escalation is being complemented by efforts to leverage the pandemic response (lessons, resources, partnerships, etc) to improve our national health security.

Latest COVID-19 update by NCDC as available on the website

Adetifa however said that the agency will introduce Pan-Respiratory Virus, Wastewater/Environmental Surveillance to complements all efforts already in place to manage and decimate the virus.

“As part of its integrated disease surveillance strategy, the NCDC continues to encourage routine
COVID-19 testing along with other infectious diseases as may be indicated in healthcare settings as part of clinical care, for pandemic flu preparedness, as part of bi-directional testing during investigations for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and in high-risk populations.

“Working with partners, the NCDC is also piloting pan-respiratory virus surveillance which is aligned with the WHO’s recently declared preparedness and resilience for emerging threats (PRET) initiative. As part of our genomic surveillance, we will introduce wastewater/environmental surveillance to track not just SARS-CoV-2 but antimicrobial resistance, Mpox, and typhoid (salmonella)

“Finally, we continue to work on consolidating COVID-19 pandemic laboratory investments into a cohesive tiered national network of public health laboratories as prescribed in the NCDC Act (2018),” Adetifa said.

He added that there will be sustained public health investments to ensure health safety in the country amidst continuous emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases.

As at April 21, 2023, Nigeria has recorded 266,675 COVID-19 cases, 259,953 discharged and 3,155 deaths recorded.

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