Nigeria: How to curb disease outbreaks through public-private coalition

| August 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

Nigeria’s unflattering outbreaks and infectious disease indices threats may be substantially addressed, as advocacy mounts for the country to advance preparedness, and establish a public private coalition on health security, to build a resilient health system for all citizens. 


 In a bid to strengthen the National strategy for reducing infectious diseases, prevent and control emerging epidemics such as Ebola and Lassa fever, the Private Sector Health Alliance (PHN) in collaboration with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has held a private sector roundtable on Health Security: ‘Epidemics Preparedness and Response’. The roundtable evolved ways the public and private sector can collaborate in keeping life-threatening diseases at bay.


Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health, explained that the role of the private sector in heath security in Nigeria goes way beyond corporate social responsibility.


“We must prioritise multi-sectoral partnerships to end epidemics because the next pandemic is only a plane flight away. infectious diseases outbreaks are now of greeter global concern that ever before, propelled by the awareness that volume and  ease of travel make an infectious diseases only a plane ride away,”  said Ehanire.


Ehanire stressed that the losses in business turnover virtually forced the closing of ranks and collaborations that arose between Government and business community to create that perfect justification of why and how strong partnerships can be the best line of mutual defense against outbreaks.


 “The business world and the Nigerian Government  share this concern especially  following recent bitter experiences demonstrated by the devastating impact of the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease which had a terribly disruptive impact on all segments of society and  the economy of West Africa,”


 “Synergy of purpose during the outbreak became a proof of the necessity and concept to work together and not surprisingly the Nigerian businesses to contribute and work with us by joining the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria,” Ehanire added.


Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, chief executive officer, PHN also expressed the view that strengthening Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness and response will require bold innovative approaches and complementary public private partnerships.


 “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,”


Muntaqa further pointed out that beyond direct effects on health, disease outbreaks impose significant economic costs including stress to labour, supply scarcity, market instability and price increases. Panic and social distancing can devastate economies.


“Engaging the private sector early and establishing relationships before a crisis allow for a faster, stronger response by preparing with our partner companies in advance, we can more easily and quickly deploy products and services in a crisis,” he said.


Lessons learned from global strategies indicate that the roles of multi-sectoral partnerships, particularly the private sector at country level, is a critical precursor to accelerating progress towards set objectives.


Muntaqa also attributed that following the West Africa Ebola epidemic in 2014 and more recently in DRC, there are important lessons to learn around the importance of partnership, leadership, communication and innovation.


“With more outbreaks on the horizon, we 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,”


“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.


Chikwe Ihekweazu, chief executive officer, NCDC, reiterated the need to develop the Nigerian health care 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.


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


 “Recently, Nigeria was hit by the Ebola outbreak. We would not have had a strong response without the private sector. This and other outbreaks have reinforced the need to adequately prepare for and respond to public health emergencies,” said Ihekweazu.


Olajide Idris, commissioner for Health, Lagos State, on his part, said “To be adequately prepared for disease outbreaks, we must strengthen our public health system in Nigeria. We need to transform not only the health care delivery system, It is not a matter of if there will be another global epidemic, but when. It is time for Nigeria to step up and improve preparedness for disease outbreaks.”

Culled from :Here

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Category: Health