U.S. CDC Nigeria Experts Team Up to Support National COVID-19 Response
- Eleven percent of the 72 million people in Nigeria who were up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations as of the end of April 2023 live in U.S. CDC Nigeria-supported states.
- By using the existing PEPFAR laboratory infrastructure, Nigeria significantly increased the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity from three to over 150 facilities in two years.
- U.S. CDC Nigeria supported the establishment of comprehensive points of care that provided HIV and tuberculosis care and treatment, COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination, and other vaccination services.
A community volunteer shares information on how to prevent COVID-19 at a market in Nigeria. Photo credit: Godwin Oisi Photography
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Nigeria (U.S. CDC Nigeria) worked in close partnership with the Government of Nigeria’s health agencies to help prevent the spread of the disease. “We supported Nigeria’s vision and plan and helped them execute that jointly,” says U.S. CDC Nigeria Country Director Mary Boyd. This collaboration, built on more than 20 years of U.S. CDC’s work in Africa’s most populated country, contributed to Nigeria achieving several major accomplishments.
U.S. CDC Nigeria includes staff from three divisions that implement programs in global HIV and tuberculosis, global immunization, and global health protection (which includes border health and infection prevention and control). During the COVID-19 response, each division used their expertise, resources, and strategic partnerships to support Nigeria’s outbreak response, case management, surveillance, epidemiology, risk communication and community engagement, and vaccination.
Using Existing Expertise and Infrastructure to Respond to COVID-19
Early in the response, U.S. CDC Nigeria helped expand COVID-19 testing capacity in the country. By using laboratories that are supported through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR program, the Nigerian government increased the number of facilities capable of testing for COVID-19 from three to over 150 in two years. They also expanded the country’s ability to understand the genetic makeup of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Staff from U.S. CDC Nigeria also worked with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health and partners to define case management and patient care standards and develop a supervision checklist for treatment centers. In addition, U.S. CDC Nigeria helped train case managers and local health officials and coordinated quarterly reviews of quality of care and treatment practices to improve outcomes.
CDC Nigeria staff also collaborated to deliver the Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) Certification Program to train emergency response managers in the country.
A CDC Nigeria implementing partner shares COVID-19 messaging with a rural community in Enugu State, Nigeria. Photo by Johnson Nnabuchi Ezea/Caritas Nigeria
Collaborating to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations
In early 2021, the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Nigeria’s government agency responsible for vaccination programs, announced its plan to vaccinate 70 percent of the eligible population. To help reach this goal, U.S. CDC Nigeria worked with the government and partners to develop, deploy, and evaluate Nigeria’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for COVID-19 Vaccines, address misinformation, and support field efforts.
U.S. CDC Nigeria’s global immunization team and their partners provided critical technical assistance to states and CDC Nigeria’s HIV/TB implementing partners. Polio program partners shared insights from decades of experience working in security-compromised and hard-to-reach areas, which helped ensure all eligible populations had access to COVID-19 vaccines.
Four months after the office began supporting COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, 90 percent of the population in six U.S. CDC Nigeria-supported states were vaccinated. The Government of Nigeria recognized the U.S. CDC Nigeria team for this accomplishment.
A community member receives her COVID-19 vaccine as part of an outreach campaign in Abia State, Nigeria. Photo by Johnson Nnabuchi Ezea/Caritas Nigeria
Overall, eleven percent of the 72 million people in Nigeria who were up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations at the end of April 2023 live in U.S. CDC Nigeria-supported parts of the country.
The strong collaborations also made it possible for U.S. CDC Nigeria-supported health facilities to integrate vaccine delivery and establish comprehensive points of care that provided HIV and tuberculosis care and treatment, COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination, and other vaccination services.
Through these efforts, more than 406,000 people living with HIV received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 2022. With additional support from the global health protection team, the health facilities were able to improve infection prevention and control practices.
Collaboration Extends Beyond COVID-19
Nigeria’s national COVID-19 response continues to benefit from U.S. CDC Nigeria’s unified approach. The collaborative efforts to strengthen and expand networks have also been used to respond to other outbreaks, build additional public health preparedness and response capacity, strengthen health systems, and improve routine and supplemental vaccine activities.
CDC Nigeria continues to provide the PHEM training program to ensure the country is prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to future pandemics or emergencies.
Going forward, U.S. CDC Nigeria teams will continue to collaborate to reach the office’s goal of providing public health excellence for healthy Nigerians.