Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), says there is need to strengthen multidisciplinary collaboration to enhance resilience against emergence of new disease outbreaks in Nigeria.
Ihekweazu made the assertion on Monday at the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy (NAPHARM) and Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE)’ Media Week programme on COVID-19 in Lagos.
Theme of a week-long event is: “COVID-19: Facts, Myths and Way Forward.”
Ihekweazu said it was imperative to boost strong collaboration that would enhance national and global health security.
“The world is changing and sometimes not changing in obvious ways. There’s increasing migration to cities, the climate is changing and increase in travels.
“Our public health systems are more fragile than ever before, there’s no doubt about it, the whole public health order of 20 years to 40 years ago is no longer appropriate for today.
“Also, the opportunities for interventions has changed a lot.
“We have to work across professions, bring in social sciences, understand our environment, understand medicine, and think about how to communicate all these to an increasing sceptical public,” he said.
The NCDC director-general emphasised the importance of fusing knowledge and expertise to boost preparedness, response and recovery.
He said the government could not do it alone, adding that public-private sector partnerships such as the CACOVID and the United Nations Basket Fund were critical to enhance response and reduce infectious diseases threats.
Ihekweazu said that NCDC would work with NAPHARM and NGE in Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) surveillance and response; data and information collaboration, and support with risk communication and sensitisation.
Also, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, the National President, Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy, said that the collaboration between the Academy and the Guild sought to guide the country toward nurturing and management of scientific knowledge for the benefit of people.
Adelusi-Adeluyi said that it was important to complement efforts by government and other organisations to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the citizens.
He urged government to prioritise scientific research, as well as pharmaceutical, medical and scientific education, saying that the country’s scientific research was in a poor state.
According to him, there is a need to enhance the capacity of the country to handle future epidemics, saying that the programme would document lessons that the country should learn from the pandemic.
“We urge the government to imbibe the discipline to put the lessons to play in the unfortunate incident of a future pandemic.
“By all means, this nation must not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to waste.
“We want to reiterate that knowledge remains pivotal to human progress, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to demonstrate,” he said.
Adelusi-Adeluyi urged the Federal Government to increase investment in broadening the frontier of scientific research to strengthen the health system. (NAN)