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COVID-19 Still A Global Reality With Risk Of Emergence Of Dangerous Variants In spite Prevailing Pandemic Fatigue

In spite of the prevailing pandemic fatigue, COVID-19 is still a global reality with the risk of emergence of dangerous variants, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) has said.

Dr. Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa , DG of NCDC added that, overcoming this pandemic and future disease outbreaks requires national and international collaboration. On a personal level, we can contribute by getting vaccinated and adhering to COVID-19 safety measures.

The NCDC remains committed to working under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of
Health and in close collaboration with the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 to end the pandemic and protect the health of every Nigerian.

This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja stating that Prior to COVID-19, the world was preparing for a possible influenza pandemic, yet the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 highlighted inadequacies in global pandemic preparedness.

The statement reads: “Given the interconnectedness of the world (now essentially a global village), we are at constant risk of public health emergencies that have the potential to greatly disrupt lives and livelihoods like COVID-19 did.

“This makes it critical to learn from lessons taught by this pandemic to strengthen preparedness and response to other diseases in line with our
mandate. We have continued to face outbreaks of cholera and Lassa fever concurrently
with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sunday 27th February marked exactly two years since the first case of
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was first detected in Nigeria.

“This was largely aided by the prompt notification of health authorities by an astute attending physician. Since then, Nigeria has confirmed an excess of 250,000 cases, recorded over 3,000 deaths, and learnt major lessons in its bid to strengthen the country’s health system to cope with other
infectious diseases and future health emergencies”.

The statement continued: “COVID-19 pandemic response has recorded the largest political commitment in the history of health system development in Nigeria due to its global relevance and impact on our economy. This has provided opportunities for prioritising health on the political agenda and attracting the required future investment in health security. We all have the responsibility to encourage and continue to hold authorities accountable to sustain
interest and investment in healthcare in general and particularly for health security.

“The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as Nigeria’s national public health institute is mandated to lead on the preparedness, detection, and response to disease outbreaks
of public health importance and to mitigate the health impact of public health
emergencies/disasters. In the last five years, several efforts have been made towards improving our health system, as well as increased investment in response to the COVID￾19 pandemic. During the pandemic, the NCDC supported the establishment of infectious
disease treatment centres, molecular laboratories, and public health emergency
operation centres in all States, and provided equipment required for critical care in
hospitals e.g., dialysis machines.

“NCDC has also led the training of over 40,000 health workers on infection prevention control, completed the digitalisation of the country’s infectious disease surveillance system, provided support including of vehicles for outbreak investigation across states, and ensured regular supplies of treatment and testing supplies among other activities. Despite this progress, it is essential that these investments in health infrastructure are sustained beyond COVID-19. Our priority remains to work with relevant government institutions and our partners to learn lessons from the pandemic and build back better.

“Although it requires significant financial investments to build infrastructure and procure
equipment, investment in the strengthening of the capacity of relevant human resources
to drive progress towards national health security is vital. We are grateful to our
workforce for their sacrifice and dedication to protecting the health of Nigerians.

“We also remain grateful to collaborating government institutions, partners across all sectors, civil society organisations, community and religious leaders, media stakeholders, and all Nigerians for working with us in solidarity to fight COVID-19”, the statement reads.

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