By: Prudence Okonna
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) will give all the needed support for the FCT Emergency Center to operate optimally to serve Abuja residents in line with the global best practices.
Director General, NCDC, Ifedayo Adetifa, gave this assurance during the official commissioning of the FCT Public Health Emergency Operation Center (PHEOC), in Abuja.
Adetifa said FCT PHEOC, which is already in use, was instrumental to the successful management of COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Diphtheria outbreak; promising that NCDC will support the Emergency Center, financially, technically, and through proper advisory.
The DG revealed that NCDC had recently launched its five-year strategy plan with one pillar focusing on subnational support for health security capabilities; adding that the plan further emphasizes the Centre’s commitment to ensuring that State health systems are fully supported.
His words: “We will continue to prioritize subnational support technically, materially, and financially, to the extent that we can. Also, we remain committed to our agenda of helping to support and maintain, state Emergency Operation Centers”.
Adetifa lauded the FCT Administration for providing a befitting building to house the Emergency Operation Center, as the new space is more befitting and conducive to a productive work environment.
He charged the Health Secretariat to maintain an operating budget to ensure the sustainability of the activities in the Center.
Speaking earlier, the Secretary, Health Services and Environmental Secretariat (HSES), Dr. Adedolapo Fasewe, assured that there would be an operational budget plan for the rest of 2023 and an improved sum for 2024 for the effective functioning of the EOC.
She said the purpose of the EOC is to have a seamless channel of coordination, and surveillance to help the team plan in case of any disease outbreak in the Territory.
Her words: “The purpose of the EOC is to allow effective use of time and resources while avoiding duplication and functions in silos. It allows partners and the private sector to interact with Surge staff, emergency responders, and volunteers. It allows seamless evaluation of processes, after-action reviews (AARs), and dissemination of information following a well-defined channel”.
Meanwhile, the Director of Public Health, Doris John, said the existing EOC structure had laid the foundation for effective and smooth running of the EOC.
The director, who was represented by the state Epidemiologist, Dr. Teresa Nwachukwu, assured that the standard of operation would be maintained.
The World Health Organisation’s FCT Coordinator, Kumshida Balami, said the commissioning represents a hub for FCT to be able to map risk and resources, develop plans, and have an enabling environment for training and exercise.
Balami reaffirmed WHO’s pivotal role in strengthening and supporting Nigeria, especially FCT because of its commitment to building resilient health systems.
The Public Health Emergency Operation Centre is expected to provide a platform for intelligence gathering, conduct preliminary risk assessments, ensure that the alert mode is effective, initiate incident action, and plan where and when necessary.
Other Health partners present at the event were Addiction and the Family International Network (AFINET), Breakthrough Action Nigeria(BAN), and Society for Family Health among others.