NCDC, AFENET call for more security surveillance to tackle diseases

Gloria Essien

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) is hosting the 4th NCDC/NFELTP Annual Scientific Conference in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
The conference with the theme “APPLIED EPIDEMIOLOGY: Providing Evidence for Public Health Action” brought together practitioners in the field to assess the impact of field epidemiology on public health and outbreak response in Nigeria and globally.
It is also to access the use of applied epidemiological methods to provide evidence for decision making to drive precise public health action.
The 4th NCDC/NFELTP Annual Scientific Conference would address 11 main themes including outbreak investigation, emergency preparedness and response, vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization strategies, surveillance and information management systems, neglected tropical diseases, malaria and other vector-borne diseases, risk communication, and public health systems strengthening.
The Nigerian minister of state for health, Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, who declared the conference open, said that the government is proud of the Nigerian field epidemiology programme, now in its 11th year, with over 300 graduates.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP) is hosting the 4th NCDC/NFELTP Annual Scientific Conference in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.
The conference with the theme “APPLIED EPIDEMIOLOGY: Providing Evidence for Public Health Action” brought together practitioners in the field to assess the impact of field epidemiology on public health and outbreak response in Nigeria and globally.
It is also to access the use of applied epidemiological methods to provide evidence for decision making to drive precise public health action.
The 4th NCDC/NFELTP Annual Scientific Conference would address 11 main themes including outbreak investigation, emergency preparedness and response, vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization strategies, surveillance and information management systems, neglected tropical diseases, malaria and other vector-borne diseases, risk communication, and public health systems strengthening.
The Nigerian minister of state for health, Dr. Olurunnimbe Mamora, who declared the conference open, said that the government is proud of the Nigerian field epidemiology programme, now in its 11th year, with over 300 graduates.
The minister said that since 2008, the NFELTP has recorded several success stories.
” During the 2014-2016 Ebola pandemic, apart from curtailing the spread locally, NCDC’s technical staff and NFELTP-trained field epidemiologists also supported other affected West African countries to successful control the pandemic. Also, the program has been critical to Nigeria’s successful control of various disease outbreaks such as cerebrospinal meningitis, Lassa fever, measles, yellow fever, cholera, and monkeypox over the years,” Dr. Mamora said.
The Director General of the National Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said that the agency was developing surveillance guidelines for anthrax and brucellosis, two important zoonotic diseases, with the support from Global Implementation Solutions.
 
” I am also grateful to the Africa Centers for Disease Control, for funding a major aspect of this conference. The World Health Organization country office remains a strong partner and we are grateful that they have provided travel grants to some conference delegates. In addition, I deeply appreciate the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he said.
He also noted that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as a science-driven organization, would continue to strive to live up to its vision as a science driven agency.
On his part, Regional Technical Coordinator and Senior Resident Advisor, of Africa Field Epidemiology Network, AFENET, Dr. Patrick Nguku, said that AFENET, would continue to help Ministries of Health in Africa build strong, effective, sustainable programs and capacity to improve public health systems on the African continent.
“The network’s goal is to strengthen field epidemiology and public health laboratory capacity to contribute effectively to addressing epidemics and other major public health problems in Africa,” Nguru said.
On the issue of disease control in Africa, Dr. Nguku, urged African leaders to improve surveillance at airports and entry points.
He commented the Nigerian government on the effort to improve the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program.
The keynote speaker of the conference and the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Faisal Shuaib urged the Nigerian government to honour Nigerians who tirelessly work to keep the the country disease free.
“In Nigeria, we have continued to experience large annual outbreaks of Lassa fever, cholera and measles as well as clusters of cases of yellow fever, meningitis and monkeypox and people are in the field working tirelessly to keep us safe” Shuaib said.
Stakeholders at the conference called for need to build
resilient health systems, and continuously work on improving them to prevent, prepare,
detect, respond to and control these infectious disease outbreaks.