Bukar Zarami, MSc Tropical Medicine and International Health (TMIH) 2012, works as a State Team Lead at Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Nigeria. In this latest COVID-19 alumni stories post, he discusses how his role has changed since the outbreak and what a day in his life currently looks like.
How have you been responding to the outbreak?
Primarily, I lead the coordination of Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health (SRMNH) and Vaccines work at the State-level; however, my work responsibilities have shifted to include the COVID-19 response following the identification of a case in Nigeria.
I am a member of the State Emergency Preparedness Response Committee, where key decisions on the COVID-19 response are made. Through this forum, we create awareness to community and traditional leaders, because of misconceptions about the disease. We have also trained healthcare workers on case management and disease notification and surveillance officers on COVID-19. Our work utilizes the eight pillars recommended by the WHO.
How has your countries response to the outbreak affected your work?
All attention of public health interventions in Nigeria has shifted to COVID-19 response. We have complete lockdown in some places. However, we are doing our best to ensure other essential services such as SRMNCH and malaria do not suffer during this period.
How has LSHTM’s training helped you during this outbreak?
All my training at LSHTM has supported my work before and during this outbreak. Most importantly, the knowledge I gained during the Epidemiology and Control of Communicable Diseases (ECCD) by Sir Paul Fine was beneficial.
What does a day in your life currently look like?
A typical day for me starts with a morning indoor exercise in compliance with the social distancing directives and also to keep fit as recommended by the WHO. I will quickly check news updates for new information on COVID-19. Primarily, my work involves managing an SRMNCH program at the State level, but we have to rapidly move to support the emergency response on COVID-19. Unlike before, I now work from home to coordinate program implementation at health facilities. On average, I used to attend 1-2 virtual meetings via zoom, but with this pandemic, I sometimes have up to 5 virtual meetings in a day. As I am also a member of the State Emergency Rapid Preparedness and Response Committee on COVID-19, we deliberate on crucial issues to address the pandemic on a daily basis.
Read Bukar’s article comparing Ebola and COVID-19 here. All opinions expressed are strictly Bukar’s and do not represent the views of the organisation he works for.