Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Senator Adeleke Mamora, has pledged that he will make a case to President Muhammadu Buhari to honour Nigerians, who fought to end the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
Mamora said this at the 4th Annual Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP), held on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The theme for the training was: “Applied Epidemiology: Providing Evidence for Public Health Action”
According to the minister, the Federal Government will not show ingratitude to the Ebola heroes.
Speaking on the theme, the minister also advocated for resilient health systems in Nigeria for a stronger and sustainable sector.
He stressed the need for effective support to health institutions for early detection, treatment and prevention of disease outbreaks in the country.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the ministry was aware that the NCDC had been graciously supporting the NFELTP programme.
Nanono, however, said there was an urgent need for funding the programme in Nigeria.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Ministry of Agriculture to play its collaborative role towards the development of the programme.
The keynote speaker, Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), spoke on the journey towards ending polio in Nigeria.
Shuaib said the agency had been able to achieve the status of almost being certified free of polio because of the polio emergency operating centre it established to coordinate responses.
He, however, noted that government leadership was very essential if the emergency operating centre was to function effectively.
The Director-General NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed optimism that the conference would strengthen health security through field Epidemiology in Nigeria, and also globally.
Ihekweazu recalled that Buhari had in November 2018, signed the NCDC Bill into an Act.
“During the 3rd NCDC/NFELTP Conference and the 10th anniversary of our NFELTP, the Bill for the establishment of the NCDC was going through the legislative process at the National Assembly.
“Today, we have the legal backing as a semi-autonomous agency of the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Perhaps of critical importance to this audience, is our role to lead the implementation of the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme.
“We have insightful presentations on various aspects of our work, with residents and graduates of NFELTP and several other colleagues, in the public health space,’’ he said.
He, however, said there was a need to mobilise partners to establish a cross border health centre and to continue to develop vibrant partnerships with key implementers.
He added that more investments were still required in human resources to strengthen health security.
In his remarks Dr Simon Antara, Executive Director of Africa Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (AFELTP), said that continuous quality improvement was relevant to maintaining NFELTP.
Antara said that unfortunately however, funding for field epidemiology and laboratory Training Programme was consistently on the decline.
“Many countries are yet to walk the talk. The ownership demonstrated by Nigeria, not just by words, but by deeds, is worthy of emulation.”
He urged government to institutionalise and ensure sustenance of the programme as the world continues to face risks of disease outbreaks.