Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have commended the Enugu State government under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for being proactive in preparing for disease outbreaks.
The duo gave the commendation at on-going Sub-national Health Security Assessment of International Health Regulations Core Capacities of the state.
Enugu state, according to them was the first state to run the health security assessment throughout the country, adding that the state had taken ownership of the programme.
NCDC Deputy Director and Head, International Health Regulation (IHR) and One Health in Nigeria, Dr. Oyeladun Okunromade, who explained what the assessment was about said, “We are here today to assess the health security capacity for Enugu state, it is the first of its kind in the country, looking at where we are in Enugu state in terms of ability to prepare to be able to prevent any form of an outbreak and ability to detect early and also respond appropriately.
“So the essence of this is to look at how well the state is prepared in terms of preparing for an outbreak and also look at the key priorities, look at the gaps and challenges in the health security of the state and how we can use those key priorities to prepare a form of an action plan for the state, in terms of using that to mobilize resources from the state government as well as partners, to support the health security programme in Enugu state.”
On his part, the Country Preparedness and IHR Officer, WHO Nigeria, Dr. Ibrahim Mamadu, said “Looking at the responses Enugu has done to several outbreaks, we will say that Enugu actually has been quite up and doing, has been quite proactive in preparing for outbreaks. Enugu like all the other states of Nigeria has suffered from multiple types of outbreaks and even with the COVID outbreak we have seen a proactive and a very strong response in the state. So we are quite happy with that and we continuously be looking at our critical indicators on preparedness moving forward.”
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Obi Ikechukwu declaring the training open said there was no better time for to carry out health security assessment than now because it has been done internationally and had been recommended to take place nationally.
He however said, “In our understanding, the sub-national move of such assessment is as key as very necessary because it will examine the constitution that governs us,” warning that “If we do not begin to take charge and understand that a lot of issues concerning the security for health amongst us are in our own hands especially at sub-national level and that we need to start to take ownership of these things, then we may never get to the desired point that we may want to be in.”