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WHO urges government to address gaps in Nigeria’s health security response


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged the federal government to come out with clear plans and strategies to address the existing gaps in its health security capabilities especially in detecting, responding to chemical and radiation incidences.

WHO Officer in charge, Dr. Clement Peters who made the call at the presentation of findings from Nigeria’s mid-term Joint External Evaluation (JEE) in Abuja, said that more should be done to strengthen the country’s capacities to prevent, detect and respond to public health events adding that anchoring the response under one health approach in terms of leadership at a higher level is very important in order to strengthen Nigeria health security.

In his speech, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire noted that since after the first JEE, Nigeria has made tremendous progress as it now has designated points of entry across major ports in the country, improved laboratory capacity and developed work on antimicrobial resistance just as work on food safety, biosafety and biosecurity continues to show progress. He observed that as part of commitment to International Health Regulations (IHR), the Federal Government voluntarily signed up for JEE that allows assessment of capacities in the 19 technical areas that make up the IHR, adding that the initial JEE provided the opportunity to develop a baseline and demonstrate the strong collaboration across several sectors that assures that we have the capacity to protect the health of Nigerians.

He noted that guided by the JEE tool, Nigeria will be better guided for the implementation of the World Bank Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement project (REDISSE 2), which is supporting activities in both the human and animal sectors, in the spirit of “One Health”. The minister stated that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control would continue to enjoy full support to adequately execute its mandate of preventing, detecting and responding to diseases of public health importance.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu explained that JEE is an assessment of the nation’s capabilities around health security under nineteen wok areas.

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