Nigeria’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats has increased to 54 per cent.
This shows a 15% increase from the 39% that it was in 2017.
This was made known on Friday at the country’s second Joint External Evaluation for International Health Regulations Core Capacities in Abuja.
The Lead external evaluator and the Senior Advisor at the World Health Organisation Global JEE Secretariat, Dr Hendrick Ormel, said Nigeria made a lot of progress but a lot still needs to be done.
In his recommendations, Ormel said there is the need to create a five-year risk-based National Action Plan for Health Security [NAPHS] with realistic costing proposals for priorities, based on the recommendation of the JEE report, and after-action reviews, using the guidance from the WHO.
He also urged the country to “Empower and enable the implementation of the NAPHS starting from 2024 to address gaps in health security identified by the JEE, the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other emergencies.
“Coordinate multi-sectoral public and private engagement for national and subnational multi-hazard health emergency preparedness and response clearly to the national disaster risk management architecture, strategy, and plan.
“Develop an accountability framework and Standard Operating Procedures for intra and inter-sectoral coordination and communication including the security apparatus, the private sector, and civil society.”
In his address, the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Ifedayo Adetifa said, Nigeria has achieved the pass mark but there is a need to focus on the identified gaps for improvement.
“This JEE has come at the right time. We now have new ministers that are going to be in office from Monday, and this is the time to use the recommendations for short and long-term plans.
“We also know that the government led by President Bola Tinubu has a health agenda that covers broadly a lot of overlapping areas that were identified as gaps like universal health care, strengthening primary health care, digital health coverage, and health security.
“In addition, we have seen the report of the Health Sector Reform Committee and this will form part of the plans that we now need to make going forward to ensure the health of Nigerians is secured, and we are reassured by what we have seen so far, that government continues to be interested in health security and we will continue to walk the talk as far as the subject is concerned,” Adetifa said.
Nigeria conducted her first JEE in 2017, using the JEE 1.0 tool which gave a readiness score of 39 per cent.
Consequently, the 2018-2023 National Action Plan for Health Security was developed to address identified gaps and recommendations from the 2017 evaluation.
JEE is a voluntary multi-sectoral process and one of the four components of the IHR monitoring and evaluation framework which involves a diverse team of experts, collectively evaluating a nation’s preparedness and response capacities across 19 technical areas, under the guidance of relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
This underscores the holistic, multi-sectoral, and all-of-government approach that is critical for national health security.
Following its first JEE, Nigeria is one of a handful of countries to undertake a second round of the JEE, utilising the JEE 3.0 tools.