By Uche Amunike
The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US-CDC, has commenced a two-week capacity building programme in Lagos State for Nigerian experts on public health emergency response.
The objective of the training is to give certificates to the first group of 40 trainees drawn from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, State-level Ministries of Health, the Nigeria Port Health Services and the Nigerian military in the Public Health Emergency Management Professional Certification, PHEM-PC.
In her speech, the US-CDC Nigeria Country Director, Mary Boyd said that the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic establishes the importance of ensuring that public health and healthcare systems like never before, can adequately prevent, respond to and even recover from health emergencies, especially those whose timing and unpredictability shows the tendency of overwhelming routine capabilities.
The PHEM-PC training is the first ever in Nigeria and was adapted from US-CDC Atlanta that educates Incident Managers, Emergency Managers, First Responders, Watch Managers, State Epidemiologists and other public health experts with not only the knowledge, but also the competencies and skillsets they need to respond to public health emergencies.
All participants will receive specialized training in crisis and emergency risk communication and also public health emergency management functions and operations.
It is a training that the United States government organized in order to show their own contribution towards supporting the preparedness of the COVID-19 pandemic, globally.
They collaborated with US-CDC, NCDC and Georgetown University in delivering the training.
Recall that in 2019, Nigeria was recognized as a Global Health Security Agenda, GHSA, partner country that threw its weight behind achieving GHSA 2024 targets and International Health Regulations, IHR, requirements.
The GHSA is a unifying factor that seeks to improve the global response to outbreak of diseases while also closing gaps in surveillance and intervention.
Because it focuses on health systems in a broad capacity, as opposed to particular disease initiatives, it builds on existing policies and programmes to improve health and spur progress while fully implementing regulations of the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR).
While Nigeria has not officially signed on to GHSA, the country agreed to meet its expectations under the IHR in 2005. CDC’s division of Global Health Protection works with the Nigerian government and other partners to meet up with these requirements by concentrating on workforce development, laboratory, surveillance, emergency response and border health point of entry interventions.
The US-CDC collaborates with the Nigerian government to achieve these targets by improving the workforce development, laboratory capacity, surveillance, emergency response, among other areas.
CDC Nigeria on her part, gives her unalloyed support to the national health response while applying disease prevention, health promotion, control measures, as they improve the health of people in Nigeria through effective local partnerships, technical expertise and strengthening of the health systems.
Some of their implementing partners include AIDS prevention in Nigeria, APIN, Centre for Clinical Care and Clinical Research in Nigeria, CCCRM, Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, CCFN and so many others.