ECOWAS mulls standard regulation for biological sample transportation within sub-region
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is working with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to combat the present yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria.
The body is working to come up with a standard regulation for biological sample transportation within the region.
Director, Public Health Department of the West African Health Organisations (WAHO), Bristo Carlos, who disclosed this at a meeting in Abuja, noted that there is global regulation for sample transportation existing but WAHO wants to domesticate it to suit the present realities in West Africa through ECOWAS.
He said, “At the moment, we have no existing regulation, what we have is a global regulation but in ECOWAS we want to have a specific regulation because we want to build a common space. Our regulation needs to take into consideration the will we have to build a common space. We need to adopt the existing global regulation to our own reality. At this meeting, the regulation was expected to be proposed and after that we needed to go to our authorities and show them the proposition done by technicians to approve it or not. The big issue of our region is to build common space. And if you want to build a common space you have to be safe in terms of epidemics. To do that, it is necessary to share information, help each other when we have a problem of epidemic. We at that moment in Nigeria.”
Carlos said that WAHO is intends to strengthen the capacity of the 15 member countries to improve response to epidemic. “That is significant because for instance If I want to use laboratory in Ghana or any other ECOWAS country I need to transport the sample to that country and you know it could be infectious, so we need to strengthen the public relations and that needs a very strong health agreed regulation between our people on how to do it.”
On the yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria, Carlos said, “ At the beginning of this year, we discussed how Nigeria would respond to an eventual outbreak of yellow fever.
The stimulation exercise followed implementing several activities.
This moment we are working with Nigeria CDC on the prevention and also in the treatment of the few cases Nigeria has now.”
Director General of WAHO, Prof. Stanley Okolo, observed that the yellow fever outbreak in Nigeria is being contained because of the response rate adding that while Nigeria is doing that the other 14 countries are on our legs making sure we do what is right.
Okolo noted that there are about 12 regional reference laboratories in the West African countries, which needs to be co-hubed, as they cannot look at all the multiplicity of diseases.