Nigeria vows to implement International Health Regulation recommendations

By Gloria Essien, Abuja

Nigeria says it will ensure that the recommendations of the Joint External Evaluation conducted in the country are implemented.

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said this at the closing ceremony of the Joint External Evaluation of Nigeria’s International Health Regulations in Abuja.

“This is where we must take charge of our destiny. God has given us the capacity to think and to conduct this type of exercise, the rest is left for us and I want to assure you that I will not fail you,” Professor Adewole said.

The minister also said that Nigeria would quickly move on to the next level of work in the regulations. 

Saving lives
“Nigeria is taking the lead in the peer review mechanism of the Health sector which would save more lives,’’
he added.

The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chinwe Ihekweazu said that the evaluation was important to enable Nigeria take care of its citizen.

Dr Ihekweazu stated that the meeting was held to be up to date in health regulations and to adhere to international regulations, having signed up to the International Health Regulation in 2005.

“Following the Ebola breakout a couple of years ago, the world has come together and realised that we really have to hold ourselves accountable in our performance in the health sector,’’ the Chief Executive Officer said.

Dr Ihekweazu noted that from the meeting, Nigeria would be able to rank itself and see how well it has done.

One health approach
“All together we didn’t do very well. There are areas that we are very strong in and there are other areas that require improvement and that is the essence of the process. It’s means that there are areas of strength. It’s not for us to praise ourselves but to really look critically at ourselves and see where we need to improve on. We have very strong field epidemiology training programme using the one health approach. We are almost the only country in Africa that doesn’t only train medics, we train veterinarians and we train laboratory sciences in Epidemiology. So we are very strong in that area,”
Dr Ihekweazu explained.

He however said that Nigeria needed to improve on laboratory services and some of the legislative frameworks needed to be worked on.

Commendation
The Program Director of the American Centre for Disease Control, Mr. Daniel Duvall commended Nigeria for taking the lead in health evaluation.

“The evaluation went very well. Nigeria did an excellent job,” Mr Duvall said.

Also, the Director Surveillance at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Mrs. Olubumi Ojo said Nigeria needed to improve on its electronic reporting part.

Similarly, a representative of the World Health Organisation, Mrs. Mary Stephens said that such meetings could help countries prepare for emergencies.

“Emergencies will happen in Africa and even around the world but what we need is to be prepared so that we are not taken by surprise. To put our systems in place so that when these emergencies come we can detect early and initiate a quick response,” she advised.

The theme for the Joint External Evaluation of Nigeria’s International Health Regulation is “Strengthening National and Global Health Security.”

Mercy Chukwudiebere