The Hon. Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has reaffirmed the commitment of Federal Government towards preventing, detecting and responding to Public Health Emergencies in Nigeria. The Minister of Health, Prof. Adewole, made this statement during the launching of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), 2018 - 2022, held in Abuja, recently.
Prof. Adewole noted that ‘’Nigeria and the rest of the world continues to be at risk of infectious disease outbreaks and public health threats. Over the last few years, the country has experienced outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Lassa fever, cerebrospinal meningitis, Ebola, as well as a resurgence of yellow fever and monkeypox.”
‘’The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been described as the second largest outbreak of the particular strain, highlighting the need for regional and global preparedness’’, he added.
He informed that this strategic plan would enable proper planning, prioritisation and resource mobilisation, to strengthen health security and public health emergencies capacity in Nigeria.
“This plan is a significant investment aimed at enhancing our preparedness and response strategy. Outbreaks in the last few years have reinforced the need to institute safeguards that will ensure that as a nation, we are better prepared at all times to deal swiftly and decisively with issues pertaining to health security’’, he said.
He pointed out that ‘’this process has been coordinated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as the Country’s International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) national focal point, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other partners’’.
The Minister stressed that the launch of the National Action Plan is not the end of the process.
"The success of NAPHS will depend on the implementation of the priority actions. We often emphasise that health security involves not only the health sector, but all sectors working towards national security. It gives me great joy that for the first time in this country and under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, we have brought together all players involved in protecting the health of Nigerians - within and outside the health sector."
To this end, the NAPHS follows an intensive Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of the country's IHR capacities, carried out in 2017. The NAPHS outlines activities that will enhance coordination across Nigeria’s MDAs with a role to play in health security, and build capacities across 19 technical areas.
In his remarks, the Director- General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, lauded the Federal Government’s unwavering commitment to improving emergency preparedness and response in Nigeria, describing the launch of the NAPHS as a show of increased commitment to national health security.
He further said that “I am happy that together with other agencies and stakeholders, we have developed a holistic and clear plan for national health security. Through this process, we have been able to bring together the various stakeholders with a role to play in protecting the health of Nigerians - from security agencies to nuclear regulatory bodies and several others. The NCDC in its role as the IHR national focal point will continue to work with all our partners, so that Nigeria is better prepared to manage public health risks”, he added.
In his remarks, the World Health Organization, WHO, Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, represented by the WHO acting representative in Nigeria, Dr. Clement Peter Lasuba, emphasised that WHO remains committed towards supporting the implementation of Nigeria’s NAPHS.
He further added that “WHO congratulates Nigeria for the steps you have taken to establish the NCDC and to launch a National Action Plan for Health Security. This is an encouraging progress. Ultimately, the best defense against outbreaks and other crisis is strong, resilient health systems based on people-centred primary care’’.
The launch also had in attendance representatives of the Honourable Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Science and Technology, Environment as well as leaders of the various MDA’s, UN Agency Representatives, Members of the Diplomatic community, Civil Society Organisations and Technical Committee members.
Mrs. Boade Akinola,
Director, Media and Public Relations,