NIGERIA – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has called for the Federal government of Nigeria to strengthen public health laws at national and sub-national levels to boost emergency response.

The national public health institute for Nigeria emphasized that strengthening public health laws will ensure that policies were put in place on public health events to accelerate emergency response to emerging health challenges.

NCDC partnered with international non-governmental organization Resolve to Save Lives to organize a workshop in Abuja titled ‘the Sub-national International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 Legal Assessment Training of Legal Officers’.

The training event focused on the need to strengthen IHR implementation, have an updated legal instrument on public health and crucial capacities of health security in Nigeria which are critical to tackling challenges in the healthcare sector.

International Health Regulations are fundamental in building resilient health systems that help to prevent, detect and respond to public health emergencies in a timely, effective manner as well as ensuring there are adequate resources in place for emergency preparedness and response.

NCDC Deputy Director of Surveillance/IHR, Dr. Oyeladun Okunromade stated that advocating and ensuring Nigeria strengthens its public health laws will facilitate an increase in the health budget allocations and support the implementation of national health security.

We have realized that public health laws do not even exist at the state level and no public health policies at the state level as well. What informs the training is the need to strengthen the public health law generally,” Dr. Oyeladun Okunromade outlined.

She explained that policies should be put in place in case of any public health emergencies to ensure that no particular person had such autonomy over the entire population within a particular space while noting the need for legal practitioners in the fight against public health emergencies.

COVID-19 brought the public to the front on the need for legal epidemiology which is to strengthen the public health law that guides prevention and detection as a response to public health event,” she asserted.

She maintained that each Nigerian state within its own space should have policies that strengthen and build capacity for health authorities to be able to prepare and respond to outbreaks within the state level as well as report to the next level on time.

Additionally, each state will be able to vote enough resources within the capacity at the state level for health security to ensure that they prevent and protect the citizens within each state.

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