A recent evaluation by the Joint External Evaluators (JEE) has shown that Nigeria made a steady improvement in the area of Health Security, Preparedness, and Response capacity from a staggering 39% in 2017 to 54% in 2023.
They disclosed the development at the Closing Ceremony of the country’s 2nd Joint External Evaluation (JEE) for International Health Regulations Core Capacities held on Friday, August 18, 2023, in Abuja.
Speaking at a press conference after the closing ceremony, Director General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Prevention and Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa explained that the evaluation exercise started on Monday and it ended with a debriefing on Friday.
Adetifa said, “Nigeria had the first JEE in 2017. JEE is a voluntary evaluation process that stems from the International Health Regulations 2005 to which Nigeria is a signatory.
“In 2017, our ready score was 39%. For the domains of prevent, it was 40%, for detect, it was 50%, for response, it was 33% and these were mostly read marks.
“With respect to prevention, it shows that we are not ready to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats.
“It’s a pleasure to announce that at the end of the 2023 JEE, the ready score is now 54%. We have seen a 10% increase in the domain for prevention, an 8% increase in the domain for detection, and 18% in the domain for response.
“I am delighted as the DG of NCDC to see the progress Nigeria has made. Health Security is an all of government and all of population and people. It involves multiple agencies, the Ministry of Environment, Ministries Of Agricultural Development and the Office of the National Security Adviser, and the Federal Ministry of Health in all of our sub-national space.
“So significant progress has been made as an outcome of a lot of investments that have gone into the health security space since the priority areas requiring intervention were identified following the 2017 JEE”.
He stated that, while the country has now achieved the pass mark, It was important to focus on the gaps that were identified and take into consideration recommended priority actions to inform the next National Action Plan for health security as well as other government priorities.
On his part, JEE Lead, Dr. Hendrik Jan Ormel commended Nigeria for the notable improvement but stressed that a lot still needed to be done.
According to Ormel, “assessment of the health security in Nigeria showed that there was a need for more experts attending to the normal average Nigerian in basic health care.
“Also, many of the children are still unvaccinated and lost to preventable diseases”.
He also complained that the health facilities were understaffed and suggested that there be more implementation of the National Strategic Plan at local levels.