DRASA Health Trust, a non-profit public health organisation established to sustain the legacy of the late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh, who in 2014 swiftly identified and contained the index case of Ebola, has joined forces with the Lagos State Government, Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) and other partners to tackle the spread of COVID-19. DRASA is currently serving as a member of the Emergency Response Team in Lagos, which is the epicenter of Nigeria’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Since its inception, DRASA has established various health programmes including its flagship Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) programme, which trains and equips health workers. IPC, a discipline that aims to prevent and control the spread of infections in healthcare facilities and communities, providing the knowledge that helps prepare health workers for the kind of public health threat Nigeria is currently facing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on her role as DRASA’s Managing Director, Niniola Williams, said: “The reason we focus on training and capacity building for health workers is that it is a big gap. There are many entities already investing in the infrastructure, equipment, and supplies required to have a strong health system and contain COVID-19 but few are focused on investing in the human resource required to make the response a success. That is where DRASA comes in.”
Through its IPC programme, DASA has trained more than 1,200 health workers to ensure they can quickly identify, isolate, and treat infectious patients while protecting themselves and the community at large. IPC should be an important part of Nigeria’s health sector, yet many health facilities across Nigeria lack technical expertise and basic capacity in IPC and as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, it is clear that Nigeria does not have enough trained health personnel to manage a public health crisis of this magnitude.
When asked how DRASA plans to fill this gap, Mrs. Williams said: “We have done a lot, but we need to do more. We know COVID-19 will not be the last infectious disease outbreak Nigeria will face, so we are setting up Nigeria’s first-ever Simulation Training Centre for Infection Prevention and Control. This will allow DRASA to scale up and train up to 10,000 health workers yearly to strengthen the health sector and prepare our hospitals and our borders from whatever public health threat may come next. It will also keep health workers safe by reducing the chance of them getting exposed to dangerous diseases which is important considering Nigeria already has a shortage of health workers.”
She further stated: “We are so grateful for the support from well-meaning Nigerians and corporate entities who have partnered with us over the years but now in the face of the COVID-19 emergency, we need more support to scale up our operations and ensure we have a trained and capable workforce to serve as Nigeria’s defence against this virus. We know this can be achieved through our collective effort so we would appreciate your donations, sponsorships and partnerships to help us get there. Together we can safeguard Nigeria’s society and economy.”
Therefore, DASA is calling for support- funding, sponsorships, and partnerships- from both private and public sector individuals and organisations to aid them in building the capacity of our nation’s health workforce to tackle COVID-19.
Please visit DRASA’s website: www.drasatrust.org to learn more, support and donate.