• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
businessday logo


Stakeholders to hold policy dialogue to strengthen Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness

Stakeholders to hold policy dialogue to strengthen Nigeria’s epidemic preparedness

Against the backdrop of how countries including Nigeria were particularly affected and caught unprepared for a pandemic of the speed and scale witnessed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the leading advocacy health platform, Nigeria Health Watch, is set to host a health security forum to strengthened the country’s epidemic preparedness response.

Themed ‘Decentralising Health Security, Lessons from COVID-19’ the forum will take place on the 14th of July 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria, and will bring together stakeholders from across the national and subnational level, the private sector, development partners/donors, and civil society organizations.

“We cannot overlook the fact that the health sector in Nigeria has been historically underfunded. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how much more work and investments need to be made, to strengthen our health system, enabling the country to be better prepared to respond to future epidemic outbreaks,” said Vivianne Ihekweazu, managing director, Nigeria Health Watch in a statement.

“Vulnerable and marginalized populations were hit particularly hard by the pandemic and pre-existing inequalities were further exacerbated,” she further said.

Read also:Maternal mental health in Nigeria: A silent pandemic

“We are hosting this health security policy dialogue because we need to ensure that the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic are applied to future epidemic outbreaks and the strengthening of the country’s health security architecture becomes a national priority,” she added.

COVID-19 has had wide-ranging health and socioeconomic impact on societies globally, setting back some of the efforts and health gains as countries continue on their path towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

Although many countries around the world had to urgently react to the outbreak of the pandemic, most did not adequately strengthen their preparedness and response for an infectious disease outbreak such as this. Nigeria was unprepared as the health security structures required to strengthen the country’s epidemic preparedness response, had not received adequate investment.

The health security forum will enable relevant stakeholders to explore how existing response structures or systems performed during the COVID-19 pandemic, how private sector investments and partnerships were harnessed and the opportunities to strengthen the existing health security structures at the sub-national level.

Discussions will include how capacities built during the pandemic can be sustained to strengthen the country’s health security, especially at the sub-national level.

Over the years, Nigeria Health Watch has continued to champion policy dialogues that bring together stakeholders from the public sector, civil society, and the private sector to present issues that affect the public health of Nigerians, discuss potential solutions and opportunities for progress, and chart actionable recommendations for policy action.