U.S. inaugurates research group to tackle recurrent disease epidemics
The United States Department of Defense Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (DOD WRP-N) in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense Health Implementation Program (MODHIP) has inaugurated the Joint West Africa Research Group’s Clinical Study on Serve Infectious Diseases in Nigeria.
US Consul General, F. John Bray, at the programme said that the collaboration is aimed at developing clinical and laboratory capacity of the Nigerian military in the area of bio-preparedness towards the containment of future diseases outbreak.
The event which housed senior American and Nigerian military officers and technical experts from the academia and medical field is set to address the issue of emergence infectious diseases and to strengthen bio-preparedness in West Africa through the conduct of high quality science.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defense, Danjuma Sheni said that the initiative was born out of the desire to prevent the recurrence of epidemic in the country as the imported Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in 2015 revealed the weak prevention efforts, inadequate diseases detection mechanism and lack of sufficient capacity to respond to public health emergencies in the countries affected.
Sheni who was represented by Director, Medical Services, Nigeria Ministry of Defense, Dr. Toyin Akinlade said that to build on this achievement and promote force health protection, it is paramount to provide technical support for improved capacity to manage any future epidemic both in Nigeria and West Africa in general.
Akinlade explained that there will be training and capacity building of all categories of medical staff on the prevention and management of infectious diseases, establishment of fixed bio containment centres, establishment of diagnostic capacity for the Armed Forces in the bio containment facility and provision of technical support for deploying robust response to EVD and other infectious diseases.
She noted that the support of the ministry of defense which was established 12 years ago has contributed significantly to the nation’s response to some diseases of public health significance such as Malaria, Tuberculosis, EVD and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
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