COVID-19: Nigeria has capacity to combat public health crisis–U.S-CDC

Umahi legacy


The United States Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC) says the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has shown that Nigeria  has the capacity  to combat public health crisis.

Dr Mary Boyd, U.S. CDC Nigeria Country Director, disclosed this during an interview with the  News News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)  Tuesday  in Abuja.

“Globally, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been largely unprecedented.

“This is despite various epidemiological models predicting poor outcomes for African countries due to weak health systems.

“The models also sited population density, prevailing conflicts, humanitarian crises and the contending burden of other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC’s) response and strategy in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other diseases of public health importance such as Lassa fever, Ebola, Yellow Fever and others , has demonstrated the country’s capacity to combat public health crisis.

“This development has been exemplary for the region,” she stated

According to Boyd, 20 years ago, the  USCDC was established in Nigeria with a mission to support the National Health Response toward  improving the health and well-being of  Nigerians.

“We are  delighted to be celebrating five years since NCDC’s establishment as a result of our commitment to that mission,” she said.

She noted that the USCDC in Nigeria had been part of the NCDC’s transformational journey, since conception.

“In 2006, the USCDC began providing support to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH)  on the Avian Influenza Project and in 2008,  the NFELTP program with AFENET.

“As you may all know, the Avian Influenza Project, the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) and the Epidemiology Division of the FMoH, were amalgamated in 2011, to establish the core of NCDC as the National Public Health Institute,” she noted.

Boyd noted that another landmark by the NCDC was the Ebola Virus disease outbreak, adding that the USCDC established a cooperative agreement with NCDC in 2015, to support its establishment as a regional leader in public health space.

“The theme the NCDC chose for this celebration; Reflecting on Five Years of Building an Institution, is ideal during a transition, so as to plan for many more years of success ahead.

“Looking back, the USCDC is proud of several accomplishments through our collaboration.

“To name a few are  the enactment of NCDC bill, digitalisation of the country’s surveillance system through the establishment of SORMAS.

“Others are, standardisation of emergency preparedness and response systems at the various sub-national public health emergency operations centers through the IMS structure.

“The advancement in molecular laboratory diagnostic capacity for many diseases among others, as well as providing confidence in the people of Nigeria through providing timely data on COVID-19,” she stated.

According to her, while  celebratig the NCDC and its remarkable accomplishment, it is equally important to acknowledge the FMOH and other agencies like National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The USCDC Nigeria Country Director added that their overwhelming collaboration and role in controlling diseases of public health concern could not be understated.

Boyd however, said that the USCDC was keen to advance and sustain the collaborative partnership with the Federal Government, to strengthen strategies to that would  prevent, detect and respond to disease threats and promote health security.

NAN reports that the NCDC was celebrating its  transformation journey in implementing the five- year strategic plan for national health security, in line with its mandate to lead the preparedness, detection, and response to public health emergencies.

Since August 15, 2016, the agency had witnessed transformational growth from a young parastatal under the FMOH, to a science-based institution, leading the public health response to the largest pandemic in history. (NAN)