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Experts call for private sector participation in health security

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Some stakeholders have called for increased private sector engagement in health security in the country.

Ms Serah Makka-Ugbabe, Country Director of the ONE Campaign and Mr Seun Onigbinde, Co-Founder of BudgIT, spoke with Nigeria News Agency , on Friday in Abuja, on the sideline of the mid-term Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations.

Makka-Ugbabe highlighted the risks businesses face if Nigeria was not better prepared for epidemics.

“During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, Dangote Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Shell Foundation, UBA Foundation, MTN, Airtel and Etisalat supported the Nigerian Government’s efforts.

“However, that effort has not translated post Ebola,” she said.

According to Makka-Ugbabe, with continuous outbreaks of Lassa fever, cholera, meningitis, yellow fever and others, Nigerian businesses are at risk.

She, however said that the Nigeria government was not contributing sufficiently to the country’s preparedness.

“We need to build systems to ensure that Nigeria can effectively control disease outbreaks, ” she suggested.

Onigbinde said that there was a business case for epidemic preparedness.

He said that being reactive leads to waste.

According to him, this is the right time for the private sector to support health security before the next Ebola outbreak.

He stressed that while the country had made little progress, its still not ready to prevent epidemics.

“MDAs have developed benchmark actions that require technical and financial resources to strengthen national health security,” he stated.

NAN reports that the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), had expressed satisfaction over 46 per cent increase as evaluated by the midterm Joint External Evaluation (JEE).

This is against 39 percent of 2017 evaluation on Nigeria’s capacity to tackle public health threat.

The key stakeholders from 29 MDAs involved in health security used World Health Organisation (WHO), approved tool with 49 indicators to assess Nigeria’s capacity in the 19 technical areas.

This was validated by a mission Team from the WHO, Public Health England, Resolve to Save Lives, US Centers for Disease Control, Georgetown University, African Field Epidemiology Network, ProHealth International and University of Maryland Baltimore.

“Findings from the JEE show that Nigeria has made some progress since 2017.

“”This is especially in areas such as legislation, policy and financing for zoonotic disease, biosafety and biosecurity.

Others are laboratory system, reporting, emergency preparedness and response operations, medical countermeasures and risk communication.

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