NHIM, exploring Innovations on improve routine Immunisation in Nigeria

The dawn of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) re-echoes the need to harness innovative solutions that is critical to achieving health-related goals by 2030 and beyond. Over the years, the Federal Government has continued to embark on implementing programs in Routine Immunisation (RI).

While some progress has been achieved in national Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus 3 (DTP-3) with coverage rates reaching 69 percent in 2010, challenges still exist with coverage rates below the average for Africa; an under-five mortality rate of 138 child deaths per 1,000 live births making it the 18th highest rate in the world.

Current health interventions geared towards improving immunisation coverage within the country are insufficient to raise the low-level health system equilibrium. The country’s transition towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC) however provides a compelling opportunity to take stock on progress and inspire innovative approaches to improve routine immunisation as well as, engage the capabilities and competencies of the country’s vibrant private sector to harness viable innovations.

Understanding the importance of ensuring health innovations are targeted, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) and Nigerian Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM) convened a National Symposium on Routine Immunisation with participants drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NHPCDA), private sectors players and development partnerships such as United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF),World Health Organisation (WHO), Solina Health to explore Nigeria’s Routine Immunisation landscape and critically draw out pertinent needs that can be addressed by adopting context specific innovations.

 

Public and Private sector Partners including development partners at the National Symposium on Routine Immunisation


Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, Chief Executive Officer, PHN explained that In Nigeria, there is a growing appetite for leveraging innovative solutions to address critical challenges across different sectors, however, there still is a need to strategically spur and harness innovations in the health sector.

 

Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria

“The Nigeria Symposium on Routine Immunisation builds on the gains of the NHIM to initiate the process of identifying promising innovations around Routine Immunisation. The private sector (encompassing large companies, SMEs, private providers, NGOs and social enterprises) are essential to spurring and supporting innovations in health as they possess valuable assets, expertise, capabilities, and resources that could be of immense benefit to strengthen public sector routine immunisation efforts,” Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq revealed.

Prof Isaac Adewole, Honorable Minister of Health, who was represented by the Director of Family Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi stated that the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), introduced in 1978 which was aimed at providing routine immunization to children recorded initial but intermittent successes however embracing innovation to improve immunisation coverage in Nigeria is an opportunity the Ministry is happy to collaborate with PHN on.

Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director of Family Health, representing Prof Isaac Adewole, Honorable Minister of Health, at the event

“The Federal Ministry of Health will continue to collaborate with the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria to improve health outcomes in the country through the operationalization of the Health Innovation Challenge” Adebiyi stated.
Adaora Odukwe, Lead, NHIM, stated that to address the challenges around capacity, visibility, fragmentation and data in the country, PHN has launched the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM) which focuses on 4 inter-related core objectives- Identifying and showcasing promising innovations; accelerating and creating linkages that will enable scale-up and diffusion; Investing for impact in selected viable opportunities and creating a convergence platform around health innovation within and across stakeholder groups.


Adaora Odukwe, Lead, Nigerian Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM)

According to Adaora “The Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace has achieved significant milestones curating innovations that have touched thousands of lives in Nigeria. NHIM will continue to engage with business leaders, donor communities, ecosystem players and its private sector partners as it harnesses innovations in healthcare.”

Several studies in Nigeria reveal that misconceptions of routine immunization, inadequate cold chain equipment to store vaccines, shortage of vaccines and immunization supplies, health system challenges (insufficient funding, inadequate health workers, poor primary healthcare services), weak demand for immunization (parents are not aware of need for immunization, communities are not involved in planning RI services), religious concerns, security challenges, non-availability of vaccines are factors affecting RI in Nigeria.

Fostering Private Sector Partnerships to strengthen Nigeria’s health care system

Nigeria’s mixed health care system is characterised by sub-optimal maternal and child health outcomes, poor quality of health services, lack of protection from financial risk with persistent communicable diseases and rising non-communicable diseases – primarily due to lifestyle changes.

This translates to approximately one million women and children dying every year in Nigeria from largely preventable diseases such as malaria, childhood pneumonia, diarrheal diseases and malnutrition that accounts for more than 50 percent of under-five mortality rate, as well as, obstetric haemorrhage, eclampsia, sepsis, amongst other causes of maternal mortality in Africa’s most populous country.

With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community has taken on an even more ambitious agenda to holistically address the unfinished agenda of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 and build the foundation for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all.

Despite a more complex and broad set of goals, health directly or indirectly underpins all 17 SDGs and is critical to promoting other favourable development outcomes, including economic growth. The transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a compelling opportunity for Nigeria to reshape its aspirations and engage the private sector through partnerships and innovative approaches with an overarching goal to support Nigeria’s Universal Health Coverage Agenda.

Over the last year, the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Jim Ovia, Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and other corporate business leaders in Nigeria have made huge strides in accelerating improved health outcomes by mobilizing the private sector’s collective capabilities, influence (advocacy), innovation and resources to complement Governments’ efforts in achieving the health Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and accelerate improvement in the country’s health outcomes.

The Alliance has witnessed increased engagement with private sector corporates to offer their resources, expertise and capabilities to strengthen primary health care systems. PHN has also seen a growing appetite from corporates to facilitate impact investments in critical segments of the health sector that reach the ‘bottom of the pyramid’.

PHN has developed synergies between the needs of the health system and the capabilities of the private sector: and as a result, serves a multi-layered constituency including the private sector in its multiple dimensions (e.g. private providers, corporate businesses), policymakers, NGOs, implementers, traditional institutions, State and Local government institutions, regulators and beneficiaries, particularly impacting women and children.

Various partnerships led by the Alliance to improve health outcomes in Nigeria include Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain in Nigeria (ARC Nigeria); Nigeria Healthcare Quality Initiative (NHQI); Nigerian Coalition to improve RMNCH in Nigeria (NICIR), and many more initiatives.

Through ARC Nigeria, the Alliance has raised the performance of supply chains to increase the availability of medicines as well as health commodities at the last mile – through capacity enhancements of public health logisticians and supply chain process improvements.

She is supporting active development of talent pools that are adequately trained to manage and operate public and private health supply chain and logistics systems in Nigeria. The ARC Nigeria is also  also fostering partnerships with universities including University of Lagos, Lagos State University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with the aim of increasing the number of adequately trained professionals with practical skills ready to make impact in public health and private sector supply chain systems.

The NICIR initiative spurred private sector integration, innovation & investment in support of Nigeria’s health priorities & translate global strategies into local action to end maternal deaths as outlined in the Nigeria Global Financing Facility (GFF) investment case.

Through a consultative, participatory process, the partnership co-developed a coherent country-owned cross-sectoral intervention package that developed synergies between the needs of the health system and capabilities of the private sector in Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N)

The Aliko Dangote Integrated Nutrition program, which is a collaboration between Aliko Dangote Foundation and PHN, seeks to reduce the prevalence of undernutrition in northern Nigeria by 60 per cent by 2025 by breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition through a combination of nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive intervention.

The initiative, which is a 5-year programme seeks to

  • Treat at least 1 million children with severe acute malnutrition using the CMAM approach by 2025.
  • Reach at least 1 million vulnerable households from communities that contribute the most to SAM burden with increased self-reliance through livelihood support.
  • Reach at least 1 million vulnerable households from communities that contribute the most to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) burden with engendered optimal nutrition, hygiene, care seeking behaviour.
  • Improve Federal, State and Local Government capacity to deliver nutrition interventions through advocacy and coordination.

Mindful of the challenges that lie ahead, PHN is excited about the role of the private sector in accelerating progress towards achieving the health-related SDGs through public-private partnerships. 

 

Together, we can build a coalition committed to a more structured Public-Private engagement that enables Nigeria to advance its progress in meeting its health goals.

Private Sector Health Alliance, Aliko Dangote Foundation collaborate to reduce undernutrition in Northern Nigeria

The Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and the Aliko Dangote Foundation are collaborating to reduce undernutrition in Northern Nigeria through the Aliko Dangote Integrated Nutrition (ADFIN) programme.

The ADFIN project, which is a 5-year programme, seeks to reduce the prevalence of undernutrition in northern Nigeria by 60% by 2025 by breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition through a combination of nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive intervention.

The objectives of the initiative include:

  • Treat at least 1 million children with severe acute malnutrition using the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) approach by 2025.
  • Reach at least 1 million vulnerable households from communities that contribute the most to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) burden with increased self-reliance through livelihood support.
  • Reach at least 1 million vulnerable households from communities that contribute the most to SAM burden with engendered optimal nutrition, hygiene, care seeking behaviour.
  • Improve Federal, State and Local Government capacity to deliver nutrition interventions through advocacy and coordination.

Malnutrition represents an impediment to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) not only due to lack in nutritious and safe food but from intertwined factors connecting healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, access to food and more.

The ambition to improve nutrition is captured in SDG 2, with about 12 of the 17 Goals comprise indicators that are related to nutrition. Sustained investment is critical towards achieving this goal.  

Muntaqa Umar-sadiq, CEO of Private Sector Health Alliance, is Eisenhower 2018 Fellow

 

A Nigerian, Muntaqa Umar-sadiq, CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, has been announced a 2018 Eisenhower Innovation Fellow – the only Nigerian selected as part of 23 ascendant global leaders from around the world who will embark on a leadership journey across the United States to engage in transformative exchanges of ideas with leading innovators in their fields; and bring action-oriented solutions back to their countries.

The 23 Eisenhower Innovation Fellows are acknowledged by their outstanding and unique achievements in their various fields and are creative visionaries and disruptors who are working to make the world a better place.

Recognizing his pioneering work in developing the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM) and fostering public private partnerships to shape health markets; alongside business and public sector leaders in Nigeria, including Mr. Aliko Dangote, President/CEO, Dangote group; Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate; Mr. Jim Ovia, chairman, Zenith Bank; Mr. Aig Imoukhuede, President, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access bank, Muntaqa’s Eisenhower fellowship will focus on models to scale up gains from the NHIM and integrate an impact investment fund aimed at accelerating early stage health innovations; and investing in exemplary financially viable health innovation ecosystems that serve the health poor and underserved in Nigeria.
 
Eisenhower Fellowships Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, in a statement said that the Eisenhower Fellows will apply what they learn from their peers and in their engagements with experts in their respective fields to maximize their potential and produce sustained impact long after their fellowships are completed. “We welcome these exceptional global leaders into the dynamic global network of Eisenhower Fellows around the world who are working to enhance international understanding and generate a positive impact in their countries,” said Gates. “This remarkable group of change agents is committed to solving some of the most pressing global issues of our day,” said George de Lama, president of Eisenhower Fellowships.
 
Muntaqa is currently the CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance, and was the Senior Technical Advisor to the former Minister of State for Health in Nigeria. He commenced his career as a healthcare M & A investment banker at Morgan Stanley in the UK where he focused on the Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sector. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, England and Imperial College School of Medicine in London, and also a holder of Chartered Alternatives Investment Analyst (CAIAI) charter. Muntaqa was also honored as a 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader (YGL)
 

NCDC, PHN Partner with Private Sector Towards Ending Epidemics in Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN), have launched a new initiative – the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR). The aim is to develop a formal structure for the private sector to support the Nigerian government through NCDC, in the prevention, preparedness, detection, response and control of outbreaks in Nigeria.

The A4EPR is designed to address priority areas in health security, focusing on building the capacity to protect the health of Nigerians. These priority areas include – purchase of equipment for outbreak preparedness and response; support to States during outbreaks; advocacy and communications as well as capacity development.

The launch of A4EPR by the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole took place at a Private Sector Roundtable on Health Security in Lagos State. The event had the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Lagos State Commissioner for Health and over fifty representatives from private sector organisations in Nigeria. The roundtable was also an opportunity for government officials and the private sector to discuss public-private partnerships in building resilient health systems to advance the country’s emergency preparedness and response to disease threats.

The recent outbreaks of Lassa fever, Monkeypox, yellow fever, cholera and meningitis have caused significant strain to the nation’s public health sector. In addition to this, these outbreaks affect the country’s economy through loss of labour, reduced productivity and inefficiency of businesses.

The Honourable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole while launching the A4EPR emphasised that the Federal Ministry of Health is very proud of the initiative and expressed commitment to support the alliance. He cited three key lessons from the 2014 Ebola outbreak response in Nigeria including strong partnership between State and Federal Governments, public-private partnerships and effective team work.

The event also had a panel discussion with representatives from Dangote Foundation, Total E&P, MTN Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Facebook and the Lagos State Commissioner for Health. Each panellist shared their organisation’s experience as part of the 2014 Ebola outbreak response and other outbreak response activities, highlighting recommendations and areas for future collaboration.

In describing the efforts to develop an initiative as A4EPR, the CEO of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and his counterpart at PHN, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq expressed their optimism that will serve as a secure and sustainable platform for public-private partnerships in Nigeria’s health sector.

In the next year, A4EPR will work towards securing commitments from the private sector to achieve its objectives.

For more information, contact:

Alexander Chiejina, chiejina@pshan.org
Jeremiah Agenyi, jeremiah.agenyi@ncdc.gov.ng

Signed:
Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu
CEO NCDC

Signed:
Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq
CEO PHN

Source : Relief Web, NCDC

Private sector collaboration critical in public healthcare, says ARC Nigeria

With the world ranking showing that Nigeria under performs global and regional peers on key levers of logistics and supply chain efficiency, Africa Resource Centre for Supply Chain, a collaboration of Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria and Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation, are calling for private sector collaboration in Nigeria to strengthen public health supply chain especially in availability of vaccines, essential medicines, and medical products.

 

From Left: CEO, Private |Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq, Global Solution Director, UPS Foundation,Jim Coughlan, Regional Director, ARC, Azuka Okeke, Founder & Director MIT, Prof Jarrod Goentzel, Humanitarin Supply Chain Lab, MIT, USA, Brownny Timm, at the maiden ARC Partnership Forum in Lagos, Nigeria recently.

Speaking during a maiden ARC Partnership Forum in Lagos last week, CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq revealed that the private sector has the expertise, resources, and capabilities that the public health sector can benefit from to increase availability of medicines, health commodities and effective and resilient supply chain systems.

According to Muntaqa, the impact ARC aims to achieve is an improved performance of the supply chains to increase availability of medicines health commodities and collectively, the private sector possesses both tangible & intangible assets that give it a distinct advantage in tackling specific health issues, including building resilient supply chain systems.

On his part, the Regional Director, ARC, Azuka Okeke revealed that ARC Nigeria is currently working to build a centralized and regional Supply Chain Resource Centre that can provide independent advice, develop partnerships and share experiences and learning across countries to help Ministries of Health meet their public health goals.

Okeke noted that ARC is focusing on areas that collectively leverage supply chain expertise, tools and capabilities to support performance improvements in the public health system. “These areas include supporting supply chain strategy, advocate for supply chain investments and provide independent advice and expertise; support Ministries of Health to shape investments and align donors and implementing partners; access private sector expertise, tools, methods and capability to improve supply chain transformations and supply chain management as well as broker partnerships to strengthen Ministries of Health capability and build long-term talent for supply chain in Africa,” Azuka explained.

In his views, Global Solutions Director, UPS Foundation, Jim Coughlan pointed out that the biggest opportunity is finding ways to engage the private sector given their knowledge level or intellectual capital in supply chain management. He explained that UPS and Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunisation, GAVI, worked together on a programme called Strategic Training for Executive Programme, STEP, which is currently running in Nigeria.

Also speaking, a Supply chain consultant to the office of the Minister of Health, Pharm Gloria Chukwuma noted that efficient and effective supply chain management remained an important key to the healthcare system as it improves availability of medical commodities which is a key enabler for optimal health care service delivery.

The ARC Partnership forum brought together corporate private sector partners from Pharmaceuticals, FMCGs, Logistics & Transport, Telecommunications, etc. including government and development partners with an aim of sharing experiences, and exploring new ways of partnering with the public sector to achieve measurable results in healthcare. Also, the forum brought to the fore how private sector is strengthening public health supply chain.

Source : Vanguard Nigeria

ARC Nigeria collaborates with GAVI to roll out STEP programme in Nigeria

The Africa Resource Centre (ARC) for Supply Chain, Nigeria, which is a partnership between Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), has collaborated with Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) for the roll out of Strategic Training Executive Programme (STEP) programme in Nigeria. 

Recognizing that the private sector is a valuable source for leadership development, GAVI entered a public-private relationship with UPS to produce a leadership development program providing health Supply Chain management professionals & decision-makers with core leadership & management skills. 

The GAVI STEP workshop, which attracted mid-and-senior Supply Chain managers & directors from National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Ministries of Health & other ministries which have oversight & impact on the supply chain system provided participants with new insights on People & Project Management, Communication & Professional Development competencies. 

STEP, which combines traditional learning with on-the-job training, helps participants develop their problem-solving skills and foster effective team building approaches. To ensure that learning extends beyond the classroom, course participants are paired up with mentors from the private sector to put their new skills into practice and build a network of contacts to share knowledge. The private sector mentors will work with the participants for a period of 90 days during which participants are to undertake their capstone project. 

CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria announced as 2018 Eisenhower Fellow

Dr. Muntaqa Umar-sadiq, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, has been announced as a 2018 Eisenhower Innovation Fellow – the only Nigerian selected as part of 23 ascendant global leaders from around the world who will embark on a leadership journey across the United States to engage in transformative exchanges of ideas with leading innovators in their fields; and bring action-oriented solutions back to their countries. 

 

The 23 Eisenhower Innovation Fellows are acknowledged by their outstanding and unique achievements in their various fields and are creative visionaries and disruptors who are working to make the world a better place.  

Recognizing his pioneering work in developing the Nigeria Health Innovation Marketplace (NHIM) and fostering public private partnerships to shape health markets; alongside business and public sector leaders in Nigeria, including Mr. Aliko Dangote, President/CEO, Dangote group; Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate; Mr. Jim Ovia, chairman, Zenith Bank; Mr. Aig Imoukhuede, President, Nigerian Stock Exchange; Mr. Herbert Wigwe, CEO, Access bank, Muntaqa’s Eisenhower fellowship will focus on models to scale up gains from the NHIM and integrate an impact investment fund aimed at accelerating early stage health innovations; and investing in exemplary financially viable health innovation ecosystems that serve the health poor and underserved in Nigeria.  

Eisenhower Fellowships Chairman and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, in a statement said that the Eisenhower Fellows will apply what they learn from their peers and in their engagements with experts in their respective fields to maximize their potential and produce sustained impact long after their fellowships are completed. “We welcome these exceptional global leaders into the dynamic global network of Eisenhower Fellows around the world who are working to enhance international understanding and generate a positive impact in their countries,” said Gates. “This remarkable group of change agents is committed to solving some of the most pressing global issues of our day,” said George de Lama, president of Eisenhower Fellowships.  

Dr. Muntaqa was the Senior Technical Advisor to the former Minister of State for Health in Nigeria. He commenced his career as a healthcare M & A investment banker at Morgan Stanley in the UK where he focused on the Healthcare & Pharmaceutical sector. He is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, England and Imperial College School of Medicine in London, and also a holder of Chartered Alternatives Investment Analyst (CAIAI) charter. Dr. Muntaqa was also honored as a 2016 World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader (YGL) 

Pharmaceutical Warehousing Standards: Private Sector Best Practices by The Multimix Group

 

Members of the Project Management Unit for the Warehouse Visibility and Governance Initiative, Multimix Academy & Warehouse Manager, MDS Logistics at the MDS warehouse

Capacity building on warehousing best practices was a key request from the Project Management Unit (PMU) of the Warehouse Visibility and Governance Project (follow on Twitter @WarehouseVisib1), an initiative being spearheaded by the Honorable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole. The initiative seeks to ensure standardization of all State medical warehouses in line with international best practices.

In the month of August, yet another ARC Gold member – Multimix Group, facilitated a 1-day training for the PMU team on Pharmaceutical Warehousing Standards as a fulfillment of their commitment to strengthen public health supply chain systems. Multimix group is a renowned private sector firm with an arm – Multimix Academy, which serves an integrated Capacity Building and Consulting firm that provides exceptional high-quality international business and logistics and supply chain education and intervention.

Topics covered during the training include

  1. The role of warehousing in pharma supply chain
  2. Pharmaceutical warehouse layout – Storage and handling practices
  3. Warehouse standards. The high point of the training was the site visit to a private-sector managed Pharmaceutical Warehouse in Abuja by the team. 

 

The MDS Nigeria Warehouse in Abuja is one of the most prominent pharma grade warehouses in the State. A tour around the facility was facilitated by the operations manager of the Warehouse gave the participants an opportunity to see firsthand the standard pharma warehousing systems, procedures and processes.

The CEO of Multimix Group, Dr. Madu who facilitated the training sessions and site visit, emphasized the importance of the public health sector leveraging on innovative and tech-based mechanisms to address the prevalent opacity within the
nation’s supply chain of health commodities. He stated that the public health sector will need to introduce and embed ICT into its supply chain for the attainment of holistic visibility which will significantly improve the accuracy of health data analysis and stimulate effective decision making.

Dr Madu Warehouse training

NCDC, PHN partner with private sector towards ending epidemics in Nigeria

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN), have launched a new initiative – the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR).

 

 

Left To Right: Dr. Mahesh Swaminathan (Nigeria Country Director, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Ms. Zouera Youssoufou (Managing Director, Dangote Foundation), Pharm Remi Adeseun (Country Manager – West Africa IQVIA), Dr. Muntaqa Umar- Sadiq (CEO, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria), Dr. Osagie Ehanire (Honorable Minister of State for Health), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu (CEO, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control), Professor Isaac Adewole (Honorable Minister of Health) and Dr. Olajide Idris (Honorable Lagos State Commissioner for Health)  at the launch of the Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response(A4EPR) on August 6th, 2018 

The aim is to develop a formal structure for the private sector to support the Nigerian government through NCDC, in the prevention, preparedness, detection, response and control of future infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics (such as Ebola) in Nigeria.

With the threat of outbreaks on the horizon, the A4EPR is designed as a proactive platform for engaging and aligning with the private sector early in advance of a crisis, to allow for a faster, more coordinated and effective epidemic detection and response to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.

The A4EPR has identified six priority gaps in the country’s health system that form the basis for the private sector investment case for the initiative. They include infrastructure and equipment, logistics, commodities and stock pile, technology, human resource capacity development and communication.

The launch of A4EPR by the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole took place at a Private Sector Roundtable on Health Security in Lagos State. The event had the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Lagos State Commissioner for Health and over fifty representatives from private sector companies in Nigeria including Dangote Foundation, MTN, Shell, Exxon Mobil, Total, Sterling Bank, Facebook, Access bank, to mention a few.

The private sector roundtable was also an opportunity for government officials and the private sector to highlight system challenges and opportunities for public-private partnerships in building resilient health systems to advance the country’s emergency preparedness and response to disease threats.

In describing the A4EPR’s theory of change, the CEO of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and his counterpart at PHN, Dr. Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq stated that the private sector can leverage a wide range of expertise, resources and capabilities to support Nigeria’s health security agenda – from technologies to enhance disease surveillance, to supply chain management practices to deliver essential health commodities, to their vast geographic foot print and workforces.

They added that beyond direct effects on health, disease outbreaks impose significant economic costs including stress to labour, supply scarcity, market instability & price increases. Panic and social distancing can devastate economies.

The Honourable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole while launching the A4EPR emphasised that the Federal Ministry of Health is very proud of the initiative and expressed commitment to support the alliance. He cited three key lessons from the 2014 Ebola outbreak response in Nigeria including strong partnership between State and Federal Governments, public-private partnerships and effective team work.

The event also had a panel discussion with representatives from Dangote Foundation, Total E&P, MTN Foundation, Tony Elumelu Foundation, Facebook and the Lagos State Commissioner for Health. Each panelist shared their organisation’s experience as part of the 2014 Ebola outbreak response and other outbreak response activities, highlighting opportunities for better preparedness for future outbreaks and synergies to have more coordinated impact at scale.

They expressed their optimism that the A4PER will serve as a secure and sustainable platform for public-private partnerships in Nigeria’s health sector. The A4EPR’s secretary, Dr. Zeinab Cole stated that the team will work towards securing commitments from the private sector to achieve its objectives and joined other partners in calling on more private sector corporates to join the A4PER and complement government in advancing its health security agenda.

With the threat of outbreaks on the horizon, the A4EPR is designed as a proactive platform for engaging and aligning with the private sector early in advance of a crisis, to allow for a faster, more coordinated and effective epidemic detection and response to safeguard the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.