The Federal Government says tackling complex global health problems in the country requires interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral expertise and cooperation from agencies outside the health sector.
Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister for State for Health, stated this on Wednesday at the five-year National One Health Strategic Plan launch in Abuja.
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the Nigeria One Health initiative has the vision of creating a nation of healthy people and animals in a balanced ecosystem.
NAN reports that co-launchers of the strategic plan are the Federal Ministry of Health, (FMoH), through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment.
Mamora said that most times when there were cholera outbreaks in the country, the public was quick to question the roles of FMoH and NCDC.
According to him, majority of Nigerians are also quick to forget that cholera outbreaks happen due to poor water and sanitation facilities, factors that are not under the direct control of FMoH.
It is therefore critical for us to come together to develop joint preparedness and response plans for the infectious disease outbreaks that affect us.
One Health offers us the opportunity to acknowledge these shared interests, set common goals, and drive towards team work to benefit the overall health of a nation,” he said.
The Minister, however, noted that Nigeria had developed a strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges.
He said the approach would drive innovations that were important to managing outbreaks, as well as offer synergy across various ministries.
Mamora said that the goal of the strategic plan would result in improved communication, evidence-based solutions, improved surveillance, decrease in long time response to outbreaks, and an overall improved economy.
Several factors have enabled the One Health movement in Nigeria, including the strong platform provided by NCDC as the national One Health secretariat.
Today, our disease technical working groups and Rapid Response Teams for yellow fever, Monkeypox, Lassa fever and cholera have representatives from FMoH , Agriculture and Environment.
We must recognise that there may be barriers to implementing this strategy. However, it is up to us all across the three ministries to dedicate the required resources for Nigeria’s One Health strategy implementation,” he advised.
Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General NCDC, said that the five- year plan would integrate human, animal and environmental health management for improved health security in the country.
Ihekweazu said that the strategic plan, jointly developed by the three ministries, signified a high priority to the One Health approach.
The NCDC boss said that the coordination Unit would be critical to ensuring health security for the country.
He stated that the collaboration would also address the emerging health challenges arising from the animal human interface and attaining the core capacities of International Health Regulations.
Ihekweazu noted that the Plan was a significant document that would ensure the readiness of Nigeria in response to zoonotic disease outbreaks.
He, however, said that NCDC remained fully committed to working with sister agencies and all relevant stakeholders to achieve the Plan.
Dr Dooshima Kwange, a Director and representive from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that one of the challenges the country faced was the spread of infectious diseases.
Kwange said that dealing with such challenges called for a stronger collaboration between human and animal health organisations.
Edited by: Nyisom Fiyigon Dore