In managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, scientific evidence is needed for situational analysis and decision making. The Nigerian government depends on the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for timely and reliable epidemiologic and laboratory data.
Some of the crucial decisions include setting guidelines for health professionals, targeting infection clusters, limiting population movements, devising testing strategies and allocating scarce resources to combat an outbreak. All of these are informed by the quality of data that is captured.
To collect, collate, and analyze data effectively for the coordination of outbreak response, the NCDC has adopted the Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS). SORMAS is an electronic data tool that captures information on cases, contacts, events, and laboratory diagnosis and is currently deployed in all the states in Nigeria.
Following the emergence of some data quality challenges with the COVID-19 SORMAS dataset, AFENET with some partners decided to develop and implement a robust data quality improvement plan (DQIP). The DQIP aims to characterize the problems and set up a systematic process for ensuring that quality and reliable data are collected through the SORMAS platform.
The DQIP, though still on-going, has identified and corrected the gaps associated with the front and back-end functionality of SORMAS. The other issues around human resource and infrastructural gaps have been identified and are being addressed.
AFENET has continued to be actively involved in several aspects of the COVID-19 response. The Nigeria FELTP graduates and residents continue to be on the frontline.