WACSI: Panelists Discuss Regional Investments And Response To Public Health Emergencies

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ABUJA, Nigeria – Mediaage NG News – At the day two of the Regional Stakeholders Forum on Public Health Systems Post COVID 19, organized by the West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI-Node) in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, had panelists discussions on regional investments in public health and strategies to improve preparedness and response to future public health emergencies.

Panelists/stakeholders at the session shared insights on the pre-Covid-19 state of public health systems in West Africa, exploring the adequacy of investments made in preparation for future pandemics.

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Speaking on the kind of investments to make in public and the viability of African countries working in synergy to improve health systems across the continent, Mr. Mathias Somé said the key factor missing in achieving this goal lies in lack of implementation, as the synergy to establish a framework for African countries to collaborate exists already.

While urging for human capital investment from the private sector to assist governments in improving health systems in the African continent, Mr. Somé said an area of concern that should be taken more seriously is logistics which has been a major problem hindering an effective conveying of vaccines to rural communities.

Anne Adah-Ogoh, a Deputy Director from the Federal Ministry of Health said there should be “a perfect teamwork for countries to work together and a very good manufacturing process”.

“For a good teamwork, there must be collaboration and implementation attributes that can grow synergy. We have to come together to agree and have a successful work attitude.

“When we see ourselves as part of the mandate, contributing significantly, then we can achieve”, she said.

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Kafayat Alawode from the Development Governance International Consult Limited (DGI), said health system in Nigeria has suffered because of an over reliance on the national body like the National Centre For Disease Control (NCDC). She called for the decentralisation of health security responsibilities. This implies that added to an office at the national level, the NCDC should have offices at the state and local government levels, with adequate funding provided.

“The health system should be controlled by the national and subnational governments, but unfortunately, the NCDC at the national level is over worked with responsibilities, she said.

“There should be a synergy with other state and local government health bodies for improved results and teamwork. Collaboration must be broken into multi-sectional dimensions so that each will play its part. We need to advocate for the creation of Centre For Disease Control (CDC) at the state level, funding and mode of operations”, Alawode concluded.

Sani Ali, a Burkinababe, from the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), said African heads of state must be brought together to fund and improve access to quality vaccines. He said to counter the threat of probable future disease outbreaks in the continent, there must be surveillance, ability to respond and a system put in place to protect the population.

Mr. Ali, while stating that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have roles to play especially at the community level, he said where there are no adequate means of transportation of vaccines to communities, they might end up destroyed without reaching the communities.

“There must be sustainable ways of investing in primary health care centres at the community levels and scale them to be the point of first response when there are emergencies”, he said.

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