Innovation, investment keys to reducing outbreak of diseases in Nigeria

| August 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

As Nigeria battles with frequent outbreaks of infectious diseases which seem to be the norm in the country, experts are asking for innovative preventive measures, investment and public-private partnership to save the citizens.

They say unless surveillance is strengthened and infrastructure provided, the country will continue to lag peers in the area of disease prevention.

“Strengthening Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness and response will require bold innovative approaches and complementary public private partnerships,” said Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, chief executive officer, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN).

Muntaqa said Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness and response capacity highlight six priority gaps required to enhance detection, prevention and management of an outbreak.

“Priority gaps include infrastructure, logistics, commodities, technology, human resource and communication.

“With more outbreaks on the horizon, Nigeria can’t afford to repeat this cycle of uncertain priorities, wasted time and investments. We need strong and clear leadership; effective deployment of new innovations,” he stressed.

He pointed out that the state of health in Nigeria is characterised by poor health outcomes and suboptimal health care systems vulnerable to the threat of future epidemics and outbreaks, which threaten global health security.

“There is a compelling opportunity to engage the private sector and other non-state actors to complement government in advancing its health security agenda,” said Muntaqa.

Over the past few years, the country has had to struggle with quite a number of outbreaks.

The outbreaks of Ebola,  Lassa fever, Monkeypox, yellow fever, cholera and meningitis have caused significant strain to the nation’s public health sector and has affected the economy through loss of labour, reduced productivity and inefficiency of businesses.

Records show that 42 days after the Ebola epidemic ravaged parts of Nigeria in 2014, the country recorded 19 cases, which led to 10 deaths.

Public health experts harp on the need to invest heavily in tackling disease outbreaks, stressing that Nigeria must do more to improve the country’s infrastructure, logistics, commodities, technology, human resource and communication.

However, there are important lessons to learn around the importance of partnership, leadership, communication and innovation. Global strategies indicate that the roles of multi-sectoral partnerships, particularly the private sector at country level, which is a critical precursor to accelerating progress towards set objectives, analysts say.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) have launched a new initiative – the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR).

The aim is to develop a formal structure for the private sector to support the Nigerian government through NCDC, in the prevention, preparedness, detection, response and control of outbreaks in Nigeria.

The A4EPR is designed to address priority areas in health security, focusing on building the capacity to protect the health of Nigerians. These priority areas include – purchase of equipment for outbreak preparedness and response; support to states during outbreaks; advocacy and communications as well as capacity development.

Chikwe Ihekweazu, chief executive officer, NCDC, reiterated the need to develop the Nigerian healthcare system to effectively prevent, protect, and respond to disease emergencies, saying it is as important as, or more important than, an emergency response. It costs less to invest in advance and to be ready,” Ihekweazu said.

“Infectious diseases do not respect borders or class. There is an urgent need for investment in preparedness and the time to prepare is now,” he added.

Oladoyin Odubanjo, chair, Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), Lagos Chapter, said Nigeria needs to be more proactive in preventing, adding that the country must begin to apply the lessons learnt.

Odubanjo said key success factors of the past should be applied in order to prepare the country against another outbreaks.

“Effective surveillance is clearly important. Containment and general precaution measures will minimise risk of transmission of the viral disease coming into the county,” said Odubanjo.

ANTHONIA OBOKOH

Culled from :Here

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Category: Health