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How to tackle biosecurity threats, emerging infectious diseases in Africa, by experts

By Chukwuma Muanya
01 November 2021   |   3:14 am
Experts have identified health systems strengthening, research and capacity building as panacea for tackling biosecurity threats and emerging infectious diseases in Africa.

Experts have identified health systems strengthening, research and capacity building as a panacea for tackling biosecurity threats and emerging infectious diseases in Africa.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, noted that professionals and stakeholders across health, agriculture, environment, security and allied sectors, as well as the development sector and civil society in Africa, have recommended that African countries strengthen their health systems by establishing biobanks and biosecurity councils for effective deployment of responses against emerging infectious diseases.

He disclosed this at the just concluded seventh African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity, hosted by the Lagos State government, in partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET).

Speaking on recommendations and resolutions reached the three-day hybrid conference, held between Tuesday, October 27 and Friday, October 28, 2021, at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, Abayomi said the conference recommended that consistent efforts towards building capacities to respond to biosecurity emergencies and flattening the waves of infections should be at the core of proactive strategies against adverse effects of emerging diseases.

While noting that Africa should be the leader in biosecurity development, Abayomi said the gathering affirmed that policymakers and governments should support scientists and the health profession to strengthen biosecurity, stressing that medical and epidemiological services must be boosted to guarantee biosecurity.

Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Dr. Ayodotun Bobadoye, disclosed that delegates, stakeholders and participants at the conference agreed to deploy conscious engagement in demanding improved funding for research and development in the health sector in Africa, with a view to prioritising capacity building and exchange of ideas on best practices among professionals, researchers and stakeholders.

He noted that the conference reaffirmed commitment to genomics and precision medicine, to address challenges of emerging diseases, as well as in pursuit of a clear roadmap with a strategic framework for vaccine accessibility, production and distribution.

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