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Lagos State declares preparedness for Ebola, other infectious diseases outbreak

By Gbenga Salau
30 September 2019   |   4:09 am
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that the state government through the Ministry of Health has scaled up its emergency preparedness against...

Prof. Akin Abayomi

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, has said that the state government through the Ministry of Health has scaled up its emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, including Ebola, through implementation of policies on bio-security and bio-banking.

Abayomi, who spoke while inaugurating a 12-member governing council on bio-banking and bio-security at the weekend, said that the ministries of Health and Justice were also working very hard to review relevant state laws in preparation for the development of a bio-security and bio-technology act based on the bio-banking and bio-security policies of Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

He said that the governing council, which comprised experts and specialists from a variety of disciplines, including bio-banking, bio-security, molecular biology, public health, ethics, security, law, anthropology, environment, agriculture and representative of the civil society, would provide governance and a regulatory framework that will ensure a bio-security environment in the state while also ensuring that biological samples and data emanating from Lagos State are collected, stored and accessed in ways beneficial to the state.

The commissioner explained that the council shall determine the process by which requests for samples or data for research and commercial purposes are managed whilst ensuring strict compliance to policies and laws on bio-security, bio-safety, bio-containment and bio-banking in the State.

He added that the council would ensure that knowledge gained from the samples and data accessed are shared to increase Lagos State’s medical biological knowledge economy and improve emergency preparedness.

“The council shall pay attention and exercise oversight function on issues of international treaties that protect society from biological threats and the subject matter of changing ethical paradigms as they relate to access, benefit sharing and compliance of biological samples, associated data and generated digital sequence information between local and international collaborating research centres.

“Members of the council shall meet at least quarterly on yearly basis to adjudicate over important issues that will be presented to them by the bio-banking and bio-security management teams and the disease surveillance, bio-security and global health unit of the Department of Disease Control in the state Ministry of Health,” Abayomi said.

He said that Lagos State government had instituted one health paradigm and advancing ability to be part of the national and global health security network and global knowledge economy, stressing that the advent of Ebola has opened a new chapter, which revolves around bio-economy and preparedness for emergencies.

“Lagos State is a rapidly expanding mega city that is experiencing multiple bio-security threats, which require proactive strategic mitigation counter measures and this is why we are developing a much needed bio-banking capacity and bio-security framework along the lines of one health paradigm, the national and global health security agenda,” the commissioner said.