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COVID-19: Epidemiologist urges concerted efforts to strengthen preparedness



Dr Micheal Nnoaham, an Epidemiologist, has urged public health experts and emergency management professionals to join forces with Federal Government to strengthen preparedness and response against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Nnoaham made the call in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Monday in Abuja.

He said stakeholders should work as collective vanguard of national health security to ensure that the country was protected from COVID-19 and other public health threats.

He added that being ready for disasters and emergencies was critical to national health security.

He said that addressing systemic vulnerabilities would create a more prepared and resilient nation.

“We all want our nation to be ready for, and resilient in the wake of epidemic emergencies.

“To achieve this, we must identify and fix the areas where we are weak,” he said.

The epidemiologist advised government to accept and allow the various health sector stakeholders to share their strategies, best practices, and tools that would enhance effectiveness of Nigeria’s preparedness and response to epidemics.

He said “preparedness is a continuous cycle of planning, managing, organising, training, equipping, exercising, creating, monitoring, evaluating and improving activities to ensure effective coordination and enhanced capabilities of concern to our country.

“Response includes the mobilisation of necessary emergency services and first responders,” he said.

He added that it was time for experts to bring their wealth of experience to the table to assess how they could address vulnerabilities in the country’s preparedness infrastructure to better protect the nation.

According to him, national health security is about being prepared for, protected from, and resilient in the face of incidents with negative health consequences.

Nnoaham disclosed that the inaugural Global Health Security Index found that out of 195 countries, not a single one, including Nigeria, was fully prepared to handle an epidemic or pandemic.

According to him, Nigeria’s readiness for epidemic, disease outbreaks, and other emergencies is, however, improving, as government is working to strengthen preparedness capabilities.

He noted that vulnerabilities in the nation’s infrastructure, however, remained.

He advised public health experts that it was important for them to monitor the spread of misinformation and be aware of public sentiments when addressing the situation of preparedness in the country.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/ Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu

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Abujah Racheal: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]

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April 2020