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With simulation, over 40 countries prepare for Ebola, others

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FILE PHOTO: A Congolese health worker administers Ebola vaccine to a boy who had contact with an Ebola sufferer in the village of Mangina in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Olivia Acland/File Photo

To contain possible outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and the like, Nigeria and over 40 other countries have begun proactive measures with support from World Health Organisation (WHO).

Chief executive officer of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, told journalists yesterday that “simulation for a global pandemic response involving more than 40 countries takes place from December 4 to 6, 2018, coordinated by the World Health Organisation’s Global Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and by the ‘EOC Network’, a global network of health emergency operations centres.

“This is the first global pandemic response training exercise, and the third in a series of simulations this year, following regional exercises in Jordan and Senegal.

“Our national EOC located at the NCDC in Abuja has joined the exercise. Participants are drawn from the Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) at NCDC, the ‘one health’ ministries (Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the WHO country office in Nigeria and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention Country Office. A representative from the Public Health England is part of the exercise as the evaluator for Nigeria.”

The epidemiologist said that other national EOCs would take part in the interactive scenario, responding to e-mailed inputs from WHO EOC.

He added that the scenario would revolve around an outbreak of influenza with pandemic potential on the fictional island nation of Mizzou.

The NCDC boss further explained: “There is no actual virus: this is an internet training exercise. The exercise takes place only within the offices of national and international EOCs. There is no deployment of people or goods. The exercise will not affect public or official activity.

“The exercise is occurring on the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic (‘Spanish flu’), which is estimated to have infected one-third of the global population and resulted in the death of millions of people. The most recent global flu pandemic occurred about a decade ago. These events occur periodically, and it is only a matter of a time before another global pandemic occurs. Member states have been working diligently with WHO to be prepared for the next event.

“The exercise offers participants a way to test their plans and capabilities in a realistic environment to gain in-depth experience that can best be achieved by practice. Evaluators drawn from Asia, North America, Europe and Africa will be watching how the participating EOCs perform in real time, measuring performance against what is expected from existing procedures.”

Meanwhile, the NCDC has confirmed six new cases of Lassa fever, three each from Edo and Ondo states with no new death.


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