Nigeria’s Federal Government in collaboration with the ECOWAS had concluded plans to establish the Regional Centre for Disease Control with headquarters in Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Linus Awute, made this known at the technical committee meeting of the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) in Abuja.
Awute said disease control and epidemic prevention were among the main concerns and priority of the ECOWAS, especially with the region’s experience of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
He said the centre would address the fragile nature of the sub-region’s health systems and improve capacity to prevent, diagnose and control epidemics. According to him, the Health Ministers, at the 16th Ordinary Assembly in Niamey, agreed to establish a Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention with the Headquarters in Nigeria.
Awute said this decision was ratified at the 47th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on May 19 in Accra, Ghana.
Prof. Abdulsalami Nasidi, National Coordinator, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said 60 per cent of the disease outbreaks that occurred in Africa in the last five years, occurred in West Africa.
“So if we can get West Africa really organized to improve on its emergency preparedness and response, and our ability to do what we want to do before outside help.
“We can enhance our abilities to prevent diseases early and prevent them from occurring and controlling the disease when they started,’’ he said.