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Management of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital,

As part of efforts to properly equip health workers to combat and curtail the spread of the deadly Corona Virus, now widely referred to as Covid-19, the Management of Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Benin City organised a two-day training workshop for its health workers.

The training which held on 6th - 7th in the month of August, 2020 in the hospital conference hall at Uselu, Benin City was attended by a sample of the frontline health workers in the hospital. In attendance were: Doctors, Nurses, Clinical Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, and Social Welfare Officers.

In an opening remark, Dr. Joyce O. Omoaregba, a Consultant Psychiatrist who also doubles as the Acting Head of Clinical Services department of the health facility spoke on behalf of Management and succinctly described the training exercise as a platform which management had designed to improve the knowledge of its health workers on the ravaging global pandemic and how they can protect themselves from being infected by the disease while discharging their duties. According to him, “Health Workers need to improve their knowledge of this pandemic so that, apart from increasing skills in treating patients we also learn to protect ourselves. This is what prompted management to organise this training for the health workers”.

Speaking at the presentation, one of the renowned resource persons, Dr. Ekaete Tobin, a Consultant Public Health Physician from Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Edo State, explained that the primary objectives of the training amongst others were; “to build their clinical skills to be able to assess and refer suspected cases of Covid-19; to ensure that health workers are able to provide some social support to Covid-19 cases including those who are expecting test results; and to build capacity to be able to apply Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures appropriately”. She maintained that the novel virus - a severe acute respiratory syndrome - was first reported in Wuhan, China on December 31st, 2019 and on 9th of January, 2020, the Chinese described the disease as the novel Corona Virus. She added that by 21st of January, 2020, it became a global pandemic with over two hundred cases and three deaths. Africa however had her first case in Egypt on 15th February, 2020.

Dr. E. Tobin further explained that according to available report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) as at 5th of August, 2020, over 210 countries and territories have been affected with 19 million confirmed cases and 706, 000 deaths, while update reports from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on the Covid-19 situation in Nigeria revealed that the sample of tested cases were 304,221, while confirmed cases were 32,165 with confirmed fatalities of 927 representing (2.1%).

According to her, the virus belongs to the family of ‘coronaviridae’ enveloped with an outer distinctive ‘club-shaped’ spike protein on the cell surface, and it is primarily zoonatic meaning it is a disease from animals such as Bats, Snakes, Cats, Camel amongst others. It causes mild respiratory infections such as; common cold, fever, headache, sneezing, dry cough, catarrh, general malaise, fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It is noteworthy that the virus is usually transmitted from animals to humans and from human to human through inhalation of droplets expelled from infected persons, contacts with patients’ respiratory secretions, or through hands contact to mucosa with surfaces contaminated with patients’ respiratory secretions and has an estimated incubation period of 2 - 14 days. Dr. Tobin asserted that since the virus is usually facilitated by environmental conditions such as; overcrowding, humidity, poor hygiene, air pollutants, poor IPC measures amongst others, health workers should strictly adhere to the standard precautionary measures, especially regular hand washing with soap and water or alcoholic based sanitizers, wearing protective clothing, maintaining a clean environment, cough etiquette, disinfecting equipment, proper waste management, and the use of face mask, which are at the pinnacle of the protective measures.

The participants were also enlightened on how to manage the psychosocial aspects of Covid-19 cases. Dr. Paul Erohubie, who was one of the resource persons explained that the stress of conducting medical diagnosis for the virus could be overwhelming and if not properly managed could cause anxiety, direct cytopathic effect on the brain, and negative emotional reaction to illness amongst others.

In great excitement, the health workers who participated in the training exercise, expressed appreciation to the hospital management for being proactive and committed to their health and welfare in the face of the global pandemic.