Investments In Health Infrastructure Should Be Sustained Beyond COVID-19 – NCDC Boss

Dr. Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa, DG NCDC.

The Director General, Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa has harped on the need to sustain the momentum with which individuals and Organisations supported the health sector with, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He made the call in a press statement on Monday, February 28, 2022 titled “Two Years of COVID-19 Response: Building on Lessons from COVID-19 to Strengthen Nigeria’s Health Security for the Future”.

TheFact Nigeria observed that there has been a decrease in number of financial donation to the health sector, since the discovery of Covid-19 vaccines

Adetifa said Sunday, 27th February 2022, marked exactly two years since the first case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was detected in Nigeria.

He posited that this was largely aided by the prompt notification of health authorities by an astute attending physician.

According to the NCDC Boss, presently, Nigeria has confirmed an excess of 250,000 cases, recorded over 3,000 deaths, and learnt major lessons in its bid to strengthen the country’s health system to cope with other infectious diseases and future health emergencies.

He said prior to COVID-19, the world was preparing for a possible influenza pandemic, yet the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 highlighted inadequacies in global pandemic preparedness.

He added that because of the interconnectedness of the world (now essentially a global village), we are at constant risk of public health emergencies that have the potential to greatly disrupt lives and livelihoods like COVID-19 did.

The NCDC Boss therefore posited that it was critical to learn from lessons taught by this pandemic to strengthen preparedness and response to other diseases such as cholera and lassa fever which the country faced concurrently with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that, the COVID-19 pandemic response recorded the largest political commitment in the history of health system development in Nigeria due to its global relevance and impact on our economy.

This, he said had provided opportunities for prioritising health on the political agenda and attracting the required future investment in health security.

Urging for more collaboration, the NCDC Direct General said:

“We all have the responsibility to encourage and continue to hold authorities accountable to sustain interest and investment in healthcare in general and particularly for health security.

“The NCDC as Nigeria’s national public health institute is mandated to lead on the preparedness, detection, and response to disease outbreaks of public health importance and to mitigate the health impact of public health emergencies/disasters.

“In the last five years, several efforts have been made towards improving our health system, as well as increased investment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite this progress, it is essential that these investments in health infrastructure are sustained beyond COVID-19. Our priority remains to work with relevant government institutions and our partners to learn lessons from the pandemic and build back better.

“Although it requires significant financial investments to build infrastructure and procure equipment, investment in the strengthening of the capacity of relevant human resources to drive progress towards national health security is vital”, Adetifa explained.

He said, despite the prevailing pandemic fatigue, COVID-19 is still a global reality with the risk of emergence of dangerous variants. Therefore, overcoming this pandemic and future disease outbreaks required national and international collaboration.

He added: “On a personal level, we can contribute by getting vaccinated and adhering to COVID-19 safety measures”.

The NCDC Boss assured that his Agency remained committed to working under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health and in close collaboration with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 to end the pandemic and protect the health of every Nigerian.

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