Lagos to adopt single health policy for humans, animals

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Obasa (left) and Ambode

Commissioner for Health in Lagos state, Dr. Jide Iidris, has disclosed that the State Government is developing a Bio-banking capacity and a Bio-security framework along the lines of the One Health model and the Global Health Security Agenda for optimal health outcomes.

Idris, who made the disclosure on Monday at a conference on Biosecurity and One Health held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, explained that the global approach in the preparedness and response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases involves the implementation of One Health model as part of the Biosecurity agenda of the state.

He stated that One Health recognises the interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment adding that it also documents that six out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are transmitted from animals.

“One Health recognises that the Health of the people is connected to Health of animals and the environment. It is a collaborative, multi-sectoral, trans-disciplinary approach operating at the Local, State, National and Global levels with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes,” he said.

Idris observed that in view of the fact that Lagos, being a fast-growing megacity with the likelihood of proliferation of biological agents that could threaten the wellbeing of the inhabitants which could greatly impact on its stability; economically, socially and even politically, “it becomes mandatory for the State Government to design and implement an urgent health care agenda, policy and legal framework to establish its biosecurity and research capability; without which the State will not be able to mount an effective prevention and containment response to biosecurity threats.” He stated.

He hinted that lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak in 2014, led to the inauguration of the State Ebola Virus Disease Research Initiative (SEVDRI) Committee with the mandate to conduct research for the development of prevention, control and management measures to mitigate against a future outbreak of the disease.

He revealed that one of the recommendations of the Committee was the establishment of a Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory which according to him led ultimately to the collaboration with Global Partnership Programme (GPP), Canada.

The collaboration, the Commissioner explained resulted in the establishment and commissioning of the Lagos State Biobank, a facility that would provide a safe storage of biological and environmental samples, enhance prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases, and act as a research centre for cutting edge researches for researchers within and outside Nigeria for improvement of global public health.

Idris emphasised the need for collaborative efforts with Nigerian Center for Disease Control, NCDC; Nigerian Institute Medical Research as well as other relevant stakeholders to achieve overall success.

He assured that Lagos as a responsible government with vision would continue to build capacities of health workers, engage the community and do other things which are very necessary to bolster the health of the citizenry regardless of age, gender, religious, ethnic or political affiliation.

Earlier, in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves reiterated the commitment of the State Government to continuously put in place proactive strategic planning to improve the health of Lagosians. She urged participants to be crusaders of preparedness for action during epidermic emergency.

Highlights of the conference were presentations by professor Akin Abayomi on Bio threat Management; Professor Nusirat Elelu on Diagnosis, One Health and Epidemics while Professor Akin Osibogun conducted the Interactive and Panel Sessions with focus on Role of Lagos State Bio banking and Biosecurity Governance Council, One Health and Disease Prevention, Parameters for funding, research, access, innovation, commercialization and return of results and implications of the 4IR on Bio-banking and Biosecurity.

At the one day conference were the representatives of World Health Organization, Dr Sam Yenyi, the United States Centre for Disease Control team led by Daniel Duvall; Clinton Health Advocacy Initiative (CHAI), MAMAYE, UNICEF, Directors from the State Public Service, Biosecurity experts, traditional rulers, Community Development Associations amongst other numerous stakeholders.

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