Emma Johnson
Wed, Sep 13, 2023 7:30 AM

Nigeria's 2023 Joint External Evaluation - A Step in the Right Direction

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Nigeria's 2023 Joint External Evaluation - A Step in the Right Direction
Nigeria has made progress in strengthening its health security framework, as highlighted in the 2023 Joint External Evaluation (JEE). This evaluation marks an improvement from the previous evaluation in 2017, with notable achievements in implementing the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and adopting a one-health approach. Despite the progress, challenges remain in areas such as domestic financing and the integration of the environment and animal sectors. Extending these improvements to subnational levels is also crucial for a robust response mechanism. The JEE provides an opportunity for Nigeria to prioritize health and advocate for enhanced investment in health security.

Nigeria, like many other African nations, has faced numerous challenges in responding to disease outbreaks. In recent years, the country has grappled with various infectious diseases such as Lassa Fever, Ebola, Yellow Fever, and most recently, a deadly Diphtheria outbreak. These outbreaks have highlighted the need for Nigeria to strengthen its health security capacity and improve its response to public health emergencies.

In 2017, Nigeria underwent its first Joint External Evaluation (JEE), which assessed the country's ability to prevent, detect, and respond to public health emergencies. The evaluation revealed significant gaps in Nigeria's public health systems, leading to the development of the National Action Plan on Health Security (NAPHS). This 5-year plan aimed to address the identified gaps and improve Nigeria's capacity to respond to infectious disease outbreaks.

Since the implementation of the NAPHS in 2019, Nigeria has made notable strides in strengthening its health security infrastructure. The enactment of the NCDC Act in 2018 provided the legal mandate needed to effectively carry out health security duties. Key milestones include the establishment of the Incident Control Centre (ICC) at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), which has enhanced disease outbreak tracking and response.

Another significant achievement is the establishment of a national reference laboratory (NRL), equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for disease surveillance and research. Nigeria has also strengthened capacity at points of entry, with eight Nigerian ports now authorized for ship inspections and health certificates. These advancements have bolstered Nigeria's role in global health security.

The 2023 JEE marks a commendable improvement in Nigeria's health security, with the country's score rising from 39% in 2017 to 54% this year. While this progress deserves recognition, it is essential to address ongoing challenges and opportunities for improvement.

Sustained and increased domestic financing for epidemic preparedness-related activities remains a pressing need. Adequate funding will ensure the availability of human capital, equipment, and training required to effectively respond to health emergencies. Additionally, promoting gender equity in epidemic preparedness and response is crucial for a comprehensive and inclusive approach.

Integration of the environment and animal sectors is another area requiring attention. A one-health approach that considers the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health is necessary for a comprehensive response to emerging health threats. Enhancing capacity at subnational levels is also paramount to ensure a decentralized and robust response mechanism across the country.

The 2023 JEE provides Nigeria with an opportune moment to advocate for enhanced investment in health security. By prioritizing health and addressing the identified gaps, Nigeria can further strengthen its ability to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks. The new administration's commitment to improving health security sets the stage for continued progress in Nigeria's public health systems.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-13 News

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