Nigeria has made commendable progress in fulfilling the requirements of the International Health Regulations (IHR).
This is the verdict of the 7-day Joint External Evaluation (JEE) process by a team of international experts as they assessed Nigeria’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to threats of public health significance.
At a ceremony to mark the end of the assessment in Abuja on Tuesday, Nigeria’s minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole reiterated that the country was better prepared for health emergencies and was on track in fashioning out better response mechanisms. “I am proud that we have been able to go through this process to ensure Nigeria will not be left behind. I am confident that we will get it right despite the work to be done in strengthening our capacity to prevent, detect and respond to emergencies,” Prof. Adewole stated.
The 19-part thematic assessment which included surveillance systems, airports and agriculture, agriculture, was hosted by Nigeria’s IHR Focal Point, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners.
National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu was enthusiastic about the successful outcome of the assessment: “the NCDC takes responsibility for coordinating this. We are grateful for the Honourable Minister’s commitment towards stronger national IHR implementation. We call for further participation of all national stakeholders especially our colleagues from the armed forces, uniformed services and security agencies to continue to lead and participate in their respective areas. Today’s event will serve as the pivot for all our efforts towards protecting the health of Nigerians.”
The outcome of this Joint External Evaluation, a voluntary, collaborative process to assess a country’s capacity under IHR, highlighted the need for Nigeria to make additional investments and apply concerted efforts to improve its performance in key areas.
The final report of the draft report of the JEE will be available for country review within two weeks and published in about a month. As a follow up, an action plan will also be agreed upon by all partners to ensure collaborations along same lines.