The director general of the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Ifedayo Adetifa, said Nigeria has recorded appreciable capacity towards containment of pandemic diseases following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) considering the state of the country’s health sector infrastructure before the pandemic.
He said Nigeria is now better prepared to respond to public health challenges than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
According to Adetifa, the level of policy and investments carried out since the last pandemic has resulted in 15% progress in Nigeria’s health security capabilities following the joint external evaluation, as defined by the International Health Regulations.
Adetifa spoke in Abuja at the Stakeholders Forum on Raising Accountability for Health Security in Nigeria, organised by the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON) where he stated that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) needed to focus their advocacy more on accountability and transparency on sub-national level governments on health security.
Other participants at the forum include the NCDC, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), the Budget Office of Nigeria, the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Health, and several CSOs.
He said: “As a result of the investment in the health security space in the country, we are better prepared now to respond to public health challenges than we were.
“In 2017 when the joint external evaluation was done, an assessment of a country’s health security capabilities, especially as defined by the International Health Regulations, which we signed up to in 2017, our ready score as a result of that evaluation was 39%, which suggests that we have no capacity in the areas that are required.
“Between 2017 and now and especially as a result of investments in the pandemic response we’ve moved from 39 to 54%, that’s a 15% increase so we are traveling in the right direction, but we have not got there yet.
“So, as we continue to the ongoing investments, the ongoing efforts, and then the prioritisation of interventions as a result of the gaps that were identified, we always depend on at what point in time outbreaks happen.
“We will always be in a better place than we were in the previous time points.”
On accountability and transparency in funds allocated to health security, the DG said all levels of government should be held accountable but CSOs should endeavour to beam their searchlight on the grassroots as well in tandem with the Federal government health agenda as encapsulated in its new health agenda for the country.
HERFON’s Executive Director, Celestine Okorie, said the objective of the meeting is to proffer enduring solutions to issues of accountability and transparency which had become paramount when funds allocated to health security seemed not to be in alignment with results.Follow us on social media