Experts seek measures to prevent imminent epidemic

Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation, World Bank, Olumide Okunola (left); Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Jide Idris; Director, Hygeia Nigeria Limited, Fola Laoye; Executive Director, Partnerships Public Health and Scientific Affairs, Merck and Co. Inc, Joan Benson; Vice Dean/Director, Centre for Global Health, Glen Gaulton; professor of Public Health and Consultant Community Physician, Lagos State University College and Medicine, Prof. Muyiwa Odusanya and Founder/Chief Executive, Merit Healthcare Ltd., Lolu Ojo, during the 2017 Ameyo Stella Adadevor (DRASA) Health Trust Conference in partnership with Quramo Conferences series in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Stakeholders in the health sector have called for resource mobilisation, policy-making, capacity-building as well as quick deployment of resources to healthcare facilities to prevent sudden outbreak of infectious disease.

They noted that the outbreak of infectious diseases has left a huge economic impact, which Nigeria is yet to recover from.Speaking at the Quramo conference yesterday in Lagos in partnership with Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) Health Trust, tagged: “Public Health: It Starts With Me”, the stakeholders stressed the need for public-private partnership to address the epidemic, which is imminent, as addressing the menace requires collective efforts of all healthcare professionals, individuals and should be taken to the grassroots.

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, said the state government, as part of steps taken to address the issue, had developed a master-plan covering infrastructure, human resources, diagnostic facilities, as well as implementing policies, such as the public health insurance law, which would enable each ward have a primary health centre accessible to people in the rural communities.

“Government cannot achieve prevention of infectious diseases outbreak alone so, we need partnership with stakeholders, private sectors and the government in terms of funding because we have limited resources.

“We are looking at community mobilisations and we have already partnered with different institutions to reform our health system. We have organised trainings for healthcare providers and we will continue to do more to promote public health.

“We have partnership in Canada, Ghana, Liberia and other parts of Africa because we need to partner with a lot of people to achieve our aim. We have set up health facilities in different communities in Lagos to ensure that healthcare givers are being trained.

Also, Deputy Chairman, DRASA Health Trust, Dr. Ama Adadevoh, said the event, which marked the third year Ebola entered Nigeria through Mr. Patrick Sawyer who flew into Lagos from Liberia, was a reminder that the next outbreak is just one short plane ride away, noting that the health sector preparedness is more important than ever.

She said the programme was also in remembrance of the late Dr. Stella Adadevoh, who helped to stop the spread of Ebola in Nigeria, adding that the organisation is working to improve advocacy of public health system in communities across the country with a focus on mitigating infectious diseases.

A Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation (IFC) of World Bank Group, Dr. Olumide Okunola, stressed the need for Federal Government’s funding of health institutions and research practices.He noted that the future of health care in Nigeria looks bleak if immediate intervention by the Federal Government in revamping the health sector is not taken.

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