Nigeria building on valuable insights gained from COVID-19 experience – NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control says Nigeria is actively incorporating valuable insights gained from the COVID-19 experience.

The Assistant Director of Health Emergency Preparedness and Response/Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, Dr Sowade Ayokunmi, said this on Thursday in Abuja, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

This was a reaction to calls by some participants at a Regional Stakeholder’s Forum on Health Systems Post COVID-19, organised by the West Africa Civil Society Institute that West African countries must apply lessons learnt from the COVID-19 experience.

The forum is meant to launch a report on ‘Preparedness of Public Health Systems to Respond to Future Health Emergencies Using COVID-19 Responses as Case Study’.

It highlighted the importance of adaptability and proactive measures.

According to Ayokunmi, Nigeria learnt the need for a robust healthcare system, crisis preparedness and effective public communication from the COVID-19 experience.

She said that the potential impact of the learns includes strengthened healthcare infrastructure, improved crisis management, heightened public health awareness, and a more resilient economy.

NAN reports that WACSI-Node had at the forum, expressed commitment to addressing health challenges in West Africa.

Head of Policy Influencing and Advocacy, Ms Omolara Balogun, who gave the assurance, said that the report captured the state of public health systems in 10 West African countries.

She listed the countries as Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Cape Verde.

Balogun noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt in almost every sector of the nations’ economies, adding that the pandemic taught some lessons.

“Thirty-five per cent of NGOs in Africa had to shut down, while others experienced salary cuts. So, you can’t say you were not affected. The health sector was badly hit,” she added.

Executive Director of the Centre For Accountability and Inclusive Development, Ms Aanu Rotimi, Nigeria, said that the forum aims to promote manufacturing in Africa.

She said much attention was paid to the importation of vaccines to Africa during the pandemic and called on civil society organisations to do more to support governments in ensuring health security.

“We need to work together in these dire times for the health and safety of the continent. Nobody knows how severe the next pandemic will be. We need to be proactive. It was difficult sending vaccines to Africa, while some laid waste in the Western world,” Rotimi said.

According to Open Society Foundations Africa, governments have not been able to apply lessons brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It described the report as important, saying that it exposed the gaps and weaknesses in public health systems in Africa.

“That should inform a greater commitment to improve our health systems. That is the challenge this report seeks to address,” the foundation stated


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