NIGERIA – The Lagos State Government in Nigeria has announced plans to open an advanced highly infectious disease research institute and permanent isolation facilities at Yaba before end of 2022 to improve its local emergency preparedness and response capacity to biological shocks.
According to the Lancet Commission , Nigeria has a great opportunity to implement policies that effectively prioritize health investments to address key social determinants of health including adequate sanitation, access to clean air and water and food security.
The construction of the modernistic infectious disease research institute at Yaba aims to bolster biosafety and biosecurity capabilities in the wake of COVID-19 while enhancing disease mitigation strategies to better respond to future emergencies.
Huge gains in health can and must be made by ensuring adequate sanitation and hygiene, access to clean water, and food security, especially for children, and by addressing environmental threats to health, including air pollution.
The biosecurity infrastructure will support activities that strengthen the capacity of Lagos State to address a range of issues particularly infectious diseases such as upgrading surveillance systems to genomically analyze what is going on in the environment.
In addition, the permanent isolation facilities are designed to be spacious, well-ventilated and well-equipped to accommodate people who are sick with pathogens and highly contagious in a move to facilitate proper disease management
Lagos State Commissioner for Health Prof. Akin Abayomi revealed that design plans for the infectious disease research institute and isolation facilities are complete, financing is available for both projects and individuals who would work in these buildings are already being trained.
Prof Abayomi further disclosed that the construction project is one of the visionary projects that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved besides the Lagos State Medical Industrial and Innovation Zone to ramp up capacity for any infectious disease outbreak in Lagos.
“The Lagos State Medical Industrial and Innovation Zone is going to boost Lagos States’ ability to manufacture medical products and consumables and ultimately develop an innovation pipeline such that anytime we are faced with biological shocks we have scientists that can respond,” he explained.
He further prompted the general public to contribute to effort of creating a bio-secure Africa while observing that water from boreholes and wells in Lagos is unfit for human and animal consumption because of dangerous pathogens that have gone into water aquifers.
Other challenges for biosafety and biosecurity facing Lagos State include poor sanitation and waste management leading poisons and chemicals from the footprint of mankind from the surface of the earth going into the water aquifers.
Prof. Akin Abayomi urged the Nigerian government, private sectors, stakeholders and other development partners to develop and implement a biosecurity framework in order for state governments to respond quickly to biological shocks.
“The best policies that will protect the health system is to recognize and value the role of nature in reducing systemic risks and mitigate the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks by addressing their root causes,” he maintained.
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