NIGERIA – The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) response during the COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the nation’s preparedness to other public health emergencies.
The Center as Nigeria’s national public health institute is mandated to lead on the preparedness, detection and response to disease outbreaks of public health importance and to mitigate the health impact of public health emergencies.
Although the world was preparing for a possible influenza pandemic prior to COVID-19, the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 highlighted inadequacies in global pandemic preparedness.
Nigeria has confirmed over 250,000 COVID-19 cases and recorded over 3,000 deaths with major lessons learnt on how to strengthen the country’s health system to cope with future health emergencies.
Several efforts have been made towards improving Nigeria’s health system as well as increased investment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCDC supported the establishment of infectious disease treatment centres, molecular laboratories and public health emergency operation centres in all states as well as providing equipment required for critical care in hospitals.
“The Center has led the training of over 40,000 health workers on infection prevention control and completed the digitalization of the country’s infectious disease surveillance system,” disclosed the NCDC.
NCDC has also provided support including of vehicles for outbreak investigation across states, ensured regular supplies of treatment and testing supplies among other activities.
Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic response has recorded the largest political commitment in the history of health system development in Nigeria due to its global relevance and impact on the nation’s economy.
It has provided opportunities for prioritizing health on the political agenda and attracting the required future investment in health security.
“We all have the responsibility to encourage and continue to hold authorities accountable to sustain interest and investment in healthcare in general and particularly for health security,” the statement emphasized.
Although it requires significant financial investments to build infrastructure and procure equipment, investment in the strengthening of the capacity of relevant human resources to drive progress towards national health security is vital.
“COVID-19 is still a global reality with the risk of emergence of dangerous variants and overcoming this pandemic and future disease outbreaks requires national and international collaboration,” stated the NCDC.
The NCDC remains committed to working under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health and in close collaboration with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 to end the pandemic and protect the health of every Nigerian.
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