The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Stuart Symington, has urged the country to continue to invest in building resilient health systems.
Symington made the call during a courtesy visit to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in Abuja
He said that strengthening institutions would safeguard citizens and act as a strategy to bolster economic transformation in the nation.
“The experience that I have had during my visit to the NCDC Headquarters has shown me how things can be done efficiently in a public-sector organization. I commend the NCDC for being a model for other national public health institutes on the continent,” Symington said.
The Ambassador also reinforced the United State government’s leadership and commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) whose goal is to support countries to strengthen their ability to prevent and respond to epidemics.
“Through the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(US-CDC) we have supported the NCDC to train frontline health workers, strengthen laboratory capacity and disease surveillance across the nation. Particularly laudable among NCDC’s recent achievements, is the coordination of the development of a National Action Plan for Health Security. This plan reinforces the need for multi-sectoral collaborations to fight epidemics and ensure global health security,” he said.
The Nigerian Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole received the US Ambassador alongside the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.
He said that the visit is important to NCDC as it has given the agency and the Federal Ministry of Health a platform to share our strategic commitment to national and global health security.
He mentioned that the Government of Nigeria has increasingly demonstrated that national governments can take ownership for protecting the health of their citizens and appreciated the US Government for the continuous support we receive to strengthen our health sector.
Dr. Ihekweazu briefed the Ambassador on NCDC’s key achievements, current challenges and priorities for the future.
He stated that over the years, the US Government has provided support to Nigeria for the prevention, detection, response and control of infectious diseases.
Given the interconnectedness of the world today, the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases pose major national and global threats. Through the support of the US Government, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has strengthened its capacity to ensure national and contribute to global health security.
Dr. Ihekweazu, added that the visit, which reinforces the role NCDC plays as Nigeria’s national public health institute, demonstrates a strong confidence in the long-standing relationship with the Nigerian government and the US and also highlights the progress made in the prevention and detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks.