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Essay: Understanding Public Health: What it is and Its Role in Nigeria’s Response to COVID-19

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  • Subject area(s): Health essays
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 26 August 2023*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 958 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: Essays on Coronavirus

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Public health focuses on a general aspect of improving humanity in various forms of applied evidenced based approach, the specific definition is understood to be, “the branch of applied science and art of preventing diseases (communicable and non-communicable disease), with the aim of improving life outcomes, and uplifting health principles through the organized efforts, data and informed choices of society, organizations, and individuals at large. More broadly the role of public health creates awareness and protects the health of communities, it involves research , disease prevention, policy formulation and implementation and prevention of injuries and disabilities.it is quite a vast field of multidisciplinary and multisectoral disciplines as a collective action for sustained population-wide health improvement , public health deals more specifically with population rather than individuals .
In Nigeria, evidenced based public health approach was a paramount factor in curtailing the spread of covid-19. At the time of breakout. The whole country was thrown in turmoil as of March 2020, due to uncertainties about the situation of the country’s health care system ( inadequate health care facilities, poorly staffed primary health care centers) , panels were set up between the government and the Nigerian Center for Disease control (NCDC) ,in which the Government were presented with hard based fact about the number of infected cases on the rise and the urgent demands for substantial health care facilities that would accommodate more infected cases and creation of testing centers to further determine the actual numbers of infected cases on the rise.

“Four new states reported a COVID-19 case in Nigeria – Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Kebbi and Taraba. The total number of states that have reported at least one confirmed case in Nigeria is now 33 (32 states + FCT) • Ninety-one (91) cases were reported in the last 24 hours – Lagos (43), Sokoto (8), Taraba (6), Gombe (5), Kaduna (5), Ondo (3), FCT (3), Edo (3), Oyo (3), Rivers (3), Bauchi (3), Osun (2), Akwa Ibom (1), Bayelsa (1), Ebonyi (1), Kebbi (1).” • One new case previously reported in Lagos, is now reported as an Ondo State case • The Honorable Minister of Health and NCDC DG met with His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide an update on the outbreak and response activities (NCDC www.covid19.ncdc.gov.ng). The Nigerian government set up safety policies which was met with a lot of critics at first, but later yielded some positive results which helped the government and the people of Nigeria to gradually adjust. Going further , Nigeria was able to finally find her footing in these challenges presented to her by the NCDC and subsequently proffer suitable policies to help curtail the spread, although, despite not being 100% efficient, the spread gradually slowed down as of the beginning of 2021 till date .

• Some of the problems faced by the policies setup by the NCDC in tandem with the Nigerian government was social distancing, curfews, compulsory use of face masks and hand sanitizers. Hunger and increased rate of poverty. These were so challenging that at some point, these policies seemed so unrealistic to adhere to due to the already existing high rates of poverty and unemployment. The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the plight of families living in poverty in Lagos State, Nigeria and left many people struggling to afford food and meet other basic needs. Survey data shows federal and state government support, including cash transfers and food assistance, reached only a fraction of families going hungry. Nigeria: Covid-19 Impact Worsens Hunger in Lagos | Human Rights Watch (hrw.org) .

Compliance to the use of face masks and hand sanitizers were a safety precaution to slow the spread of the virus, but due to the increase in the prices of consumable , most people could not afford to buy face masks, this further makes it difficult for the NCDC and the Nigerian government to implement safety protocols. Barely a day after the Federal Government confirmed the first case of Coronavirus in the country, owners of pharmaceutical stores and supermarkets are beginning to exploit the situation, as they increase the prices of face masks, infrared thermometer and hand sanitizers between 150% and 300%.( Coronavirus: Prices of face masks, hand sanitizers rise by 300% – Nairametrics). Some of these polices play an advantageous role in safe guarding and limiting the spread of the virus, unfortunately, inadequate funding and support from other nations could deal a great effect in productiveness and result of some key policies. Therefore, evidence based data provides awareness and involvement of local parastatals in policing making which would help in providing a more sustainable plan for the population at large.

Despite numerous discoveries in public health, a much larger attention to evidence-based approaches is necessary. This essay will further explain the concepts of evidence-based public health (EBPH), on which formal discourse originated some time ago. The significant aspects of evidence based public health includes making decisions based on the best available scientific data, applying program-planning time frames, community discussions in decision making, conducting quality evaluation, and disseminating what is learned. Three varieties of evidence have been presented on the causes of diseases and the magnitude of risk factors, the relative impact of specific interventions, and how and under which contextual conditions interventions were implemented. Analytic tools (e.g., systematic reviews, economic evaluation) can be useful in fastening the uptake of EBPH. difficulties and opportunities, for example, training, political issues for disseminating EBPH are strictly investigated .

Furthermore, increasing disease rates and occurrences , limited funding, and the ever-growing scientific basis for intervention requires the implementation of proven strategies to develop population health. Public health experts must be ready to implement an evidence-based approach in their work to meet health goals and sustain necessary resources. Researches prove that easy accessible and time-efficient tools for implementing an evidence-based public health (EBPH) approach tends to improve and drive the standard population health. Different tools have been developed to meet EBPH demands

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