Nigeria's COVID-19 battle aided by innovative home-based care solution

Innovative home-based care programme introduced to help relieve the load on local government facilities and resources.

As confirmed cases increased during Nigeria’s first two waves, Lagos became the epicenter of the outbreak, accounting for 35 percent of the total number of cases, and threatening to overwhelm local health facilities. Consequently, the government initiated a Home-Based COVID-19 Care programme in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) which allows patients to receive hospital-level care at their homes and are closely monitored by health officials during this time. The programme, which began between February and April initially managed around 1060 people in six high burden districts of the Lagos state without a single death being recorded. Since then, the programme has been expanded to all 37 Nigerian States and the country’s Federal Capital Territory.

The bed capacity of all isolation centers in Lagos state before the adoption of Home-Based Care was 605, with an average of 98 beds occupied weekly. Since its inception, the capacity has grown to 526 beds, with just seven beds being filled on a weekly basis. “The benefit of the Home-Based Care arrangement in Nigeria is two-pronged; firstly, it is a patient-centred approach to care, and secondly, it frees up limited bed spaces in the treatment centres for the more severe cases of COVID-19,” says Dr Comfort Kusimo, WHO Incident Management System Coordinator in Lagos state. Nigeria has recorded over 169 000 cases and 2125 related deaths to date since discovering its first COVID-19 case in February 2020.