Biosafety Agency reviews draft National Biosecurity policy and action plan

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 Zeniat Abubakar, Abuja
The National Biosafety Management Agency in Nigeria, NBMA, says it’s reviewing the draft National Biosecurity policy and Action plan.
The Policy was developed by the National Biosafety Management Agency under the auspices of the federal Ministry of Environment.
At the first stakeholders’ review of a draft National Biosecurity policy and strategy meeting held in Abuja, the Nigeria’s Minister of State for environment, Sharon Ikeazor said the draft document which was first presented to stakeholders in 2020 is expected to stimulate efforts towards safeguarding human health, the environment and the Nigerian economy.
“Biosafety remain one of the approach in regulatory framework for anaylsing and managing relevant bio-risk to human, animal and plant which is also associated with risk to the environment.” The Minister stated.
She said the document will drive the institutionalsation of a harmonised  and workable Bio-security system which will serve as a fundamental approach to minimize the Bio-risk of biological threats to human, animal and plant.
The review policy will also require the use of the document as a clear frame work that defines the roles and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders, she added.
The Minister, urged the stakeholder at the event to come up with implementable strategies in line with national needs, risk assessment and management that forms the basis in decision making.
The Director General, National Biosafety Management Agency, Dr. Rufus Ebegba said that the review policy is multisectorial and called on all state governments across the 36 states in the country to key into the policy document.
He explained that the policy review would help the government to prevent and avert Bio-threat early.
“The document does not only contain policy but also strategy and action plan, to ensure that there are responses, apart for been responses to threat, we must also been able to predict the likelihood of Bio-threat and also ensure that Bio-threat are averted”. Dr. Ebegba stated.
The Lagos state Commissioner for Health, Professor. Akin Abayomi said the state is ready to work and developed the policy together with the National Biosafety Management Agency.
“We been very vulnerable in Lagos State because, we have to put things together, we have translated things to practical actions, because the government needed to do that to protect the State from Covid-19 and other Biological threats. we are very happy to come and contribute to the federal initiative because it is very important that Lagos State, key from what the government is doing.” Professor Abayomi explained.
“We are also working with the West Africa health authority because of the nature of the State within the context of ECOWAS, and also following the activities in the Africa Union, WHO, and the United Nations, what we are doing here in next two days is critical because it takes into awareness the environment, Agriculture, climate change, movement of people, conflicts, pesticides, and so on.” He stated.
Professor Abayomi added that the Nigeria needs to takes issues of Biosafety serious following the devastating effect of COVID-19 pandemic.
The Representatives of the European Union, Delegation to Nigeria, Mr. Jerome Riviere, reiterated their support for ongoing collaborative work on health system preparedness for whole hazard events as the report investment would enhance approaches for Biosafety and Biosecurity as they relate to support capacity of international health regulations.
“According to him in December 2020, the initiative, EU for health security in Africa was launched with the aimed to contribute to strengthening Africa capacities in preparedness and in response to health threats to contribute to facilitates harmonised, outbreak and communicable diseases at continental levels.”
He said the EU will take into consideration the request of the National Biosafety Management Agency and will considered it as part of the EU development assistance in the next coming years.
The policy review which will lead to the implementation of an integrated bio-security approach at national and sub-national levels is also expected to drive the country’s national Biosafety.
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