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FG Hopes to Improve Regional Disease Control with ECOWAS Health Officials

FG Hopes to Improve Regional Disease Control with ECOWAS Health Officials 

The Federal Government has expressed optimism that, despite obstacles, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region will see major developments in public health.

During a workshop for directors of National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) in West Africa, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, Director of Public Health in the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, gave the assurance. The event took place in Abuja on Monday.

The resolution creating the ECOWAS Regional Center of Disease Surveillance and Control was approved at the 47th ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments, which was held in Accra in December 2015, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

In order to improve nations’ abilities to prevent, identify, and effectively address the main threats to public health, the resolution called for the creation of a regional network of national public health institutions.

In light of this, the West African Health Organization was given the mandate to initiate support initiatives for member states and carry out the essential tasks to enable preliminary assessments in ECOWAS nations in 2016.

The team of the Regional Center for Disease Surveillance and Control (RCSDC) has arranged four in-person meetings for regional NPHI directors in addition to recurrent online consultations.

According to Anyaike, the potential for cooperation, ingenuity, and group effort held the key to significant advancement in the area.

“As we navigate the complexities of environmental degradation and its far-reaching impacts, it is crucial to recognise and harness the potential inherent in working together towards sustainable solutions,” he said.

He claims that despite its rich diversity and dynamic cultures, the area faces a wide range of public health issues, from environmental health concerns to infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases.

He said that the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic few years ago showed that the region must always be prepared for an epidemic.

“The unprecedented crisis tested the resilience of our health systems, challenged our scientific knowledge, and highlighted the importance of robust public health infrastructure and coordinated response mechanisms.

“Yet, it also underscored the power of solidarity, cooperation and collaboration in addressing common threats.

“We must watch the threat of antimicrobial resistance and not forget the principles of One Health,” he urged.

He said that Nigeria had come up with a four-point agenda that would guide the country in its resolve to protect lives.

“These include improving leadership and governance, improving population health outcomes, unlocking the health sector value chain and improving health security for all Nigerians.

“Local production of health products including diagnostics, medicines, vaccines and other health commodities will be a sure step towards ownership and sustainability of health intervention in Africa,” he said.

He said that directors of NPHIs had a critical role to play in guiding the nations through turbulent times and charting a course toward a healthier and more resilient future.

“Our institutes serve as the cornerstone of public health surveillance, research and response, providing evidence-based guidance to policymakers, healthcare professionals and the general public.

“This annual meeting provides us with another opportunity to reflect on our collective achievements, share best practices and identify areas for improvement,” he stated.

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