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.

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