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FG launches 5-year health strategic plan

The federal government has launched a national One Health strategic plan to improve health security by integrating human, animal and environmental health management which will be implemented over a five-year period, 2019 – 2023.

The plan which was launched in Abuja on Wednesday by the Minister of State for Health, Olurunnimbe Mamora outlines the country’s plan to strengthen the prevention, detection and response to infectious diseases that originatea form animals, affect humans, animals and the environment.

According to a statement from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Mamora said the strategic plan which was jointly developed by the Federal Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and Environment as well as their agencies, will result in improved communication, evidence-based solutions, improved surveillance, decreased lag time in response to outbreaks, and overall an improved economy.

“Nigeria has developed a One Health strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges. This approach drives innovations that are important to manage the outbreaks we experience and offers synergy across our various Ministries. We hope that the implementation of this plan in Nigeria can serve as a model for other African countries”, Mamora was quoted saying.

He noted that Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch a One Health plan signed by the Ministers of Health Agriculture and Environment.

The minister however said it was important to recognise that there may be barriers to implementing the strategy, but said it is the duty of the ministries to dedicate the required resources for Nigeria’s One Health strategy implementation.

The Director General, NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu noted that the health of humans and animals are interlinked with the environment and Majority of infectious diseases that affect human health are originate from animals (zootonic), and occur at the human-animal-environment interface.

“Nigeria continues to experience annual outbreaks of zoonotic diseases including Lassa fever, monkeypox and yellow fever”, he said

Ihekweazu further explained that the plan recognises the interconnectedness of the health of people to the health of animals and the environment, and offers a collaborative, multi-sectoral and transdisciplinary approach for zoonotic diseases.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, commended the various activities that are driven through the One Health approach such as the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP), multi-sectoral disease technical working groups and joint investigations of zoonotic diseases and other public health events.

Nanono who was represented by Dooshima Kwange stated that the FMARD and its agencies remain fully committed to ensuring the success of the One Health platform by achieving accelerated growth in livestock products for self-sufficiency.

In the same vein, the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood, repeated by Chika Okpala, committed to continue collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture for the successful implementation of the One Health strategic plan.

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