Now is the time for Nigeria to take the 'leap' in in responding to the Ebola Pandemic for AU member states to recognize its ability to respond to this and future disease outbreaks especially in the identification, response, and recovery.
FG Wants African Centre for Disease Control, Prevention in Nigeria
The Federal Government has requested that the proposed African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDCP)’ be set up in Nigeria, Minister of Health, Dr Onybuchi Chukwu, said.
Chukwu said in Luanda that the request was made to the Conference of African Union Ministers of Health and World Health Organisation.
Chukwu cited the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as a yardstick for the request, saying Nigeria was the first in Africa to establish such a centre.
He said that the Nigeria centre had been doing well in conducting researches on disease outbreak, prevention and other public health issues.
`` Nigeria, so far, has the best disease surveillance system according to WHO, on the continent of Africa.
``Actually, Nigeria was the first to offer to host the African Centre for Disease Control followed by Ethiopia and since then we have been working toward it.
``It was inconclusive, though Ethiopia brought it up, the decision was that we should still do more consultation and I believe what we are saying here is part of that consultation,’’ he said.
Chukwu said many countries outside Africa, including the U.S., supported the ACDCP initiative.
``The idea is to have a strengthened centre for disease control so that when we have an outbreak it will take the lead in investigation and treatment,’’ he said.
Chukwu recalled that Nigeria was the first country to host its neighbours in 2012 to discuss disease control.
He said WHO recognised that meeting as the first of its kind in the world that a country initiated.
``What we need is what we always say since 2010 when we first called that meeting on cross border infection control.
``Infections do not care for passport or visa, diseases just move across borders, not something a single country can curtail.
``You will see what has happened recently, an outbreak started in Guinea before you knew it, it spread to three other countries,’’ he said.
Chukwu commended President Goodluck Jonathan for his support for the establishment of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
On the establishment of African Medicine Agency, Chukwu said Nigeria was still in the lead as no other country in the continent had been able to establish a similar body to National Agency for Food Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said NCDC, NAFDAC and FRSN were three institutions in Nigeria that had not been replicated in other countries.
``So, Nigeria is solidly behind this establishment of a common body that can regulate drugs within Africa, ‘’he said.
Chukwu lauded ministers of health in Africa for doing much regarding the health sector, including the establishment of African Public Health Fund.