Governor Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has emphasized the need for strategic preparedness against pathogens of high consequence and infectious disease as key in strengthening Africa’s resilience in tackling emerging bio-security threats.
Sanwo-Olu who made this known today at the Policy Session of the ongoing 6th African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity hosted by the Lagos Ministry of Health in partnership with GET Consortium explained that only strategic and effective level of preparedness can save the human race from emerging infectious disease.
He noted that the Lagos is still taking lessons from the COVID19 pandemic stressing that identified gap in the State response to the infection will be bridged to strengthen the State’s resilience in effectively tackling COVID19 and other infectious disease that may occur.
“COVID19 is still around us but it is the learning we need to have Post-COVID19 that we is very critical. In 2021, we are going to dedicate budget to ensure that our learning capability are well documented”, Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor restated his commitment to building infrastructure that will adequately prepare the state for future health crisis while noting that quality and equitable health services remain paramount
“Yes, we have a level 3 biosafety laboratory but we need to also have a plan to ensure that we continue to scale up and reach the bar to be sure that in the next five to ten years that we, and are still working on that plan”.
“Infrastructure is also very important, people need to see that we are scaling up, not only on training or skill development but real infrastructure on the ground. We will ensure we build structures that can outlive us and that is why I am happy to also re-inform us again that we have plans to build an Africa Infectious Disease Centre which is for research and development on infectious disease knowledge and management at our Infectious Disease hospital in Yaba”, he stated.
Sanwo-Olu added that his administration recognizes the need to upscale its preparedness against future biosecurity threats especially after having learnt from the COVID 19 pandemic adding that
The state does not want to be just an epic center but also a research and development center that will be of great benefit for the future generation.
While commending the efforts of the organizers of the 6th African Conference on One Heath and Bio security, the governor the importance of strategic health conferences like this should not be overlooked more importantly because it will help guide health policies, plans and programmes in order to improve and protect the health status of citizens.
Earlier in his remark, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi said that the three-day event was planned to bring together a consortium of African scientist, medical practitioners and experts in related one health field to raise awareness about public health threats to Africa communities and States.
He said that the conference themed mo“Strengthening Africa’s Resilience in Tackling Emerging Biosecurity Threats: Lessons from COVID19 Pandemic” is well thought out as there is the need to continually emphasize the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases and preparedness against future biosecurity threats.
“This conference has been going on for six years in collaboration with this organization called global emerging pathogen consortium which is a consortium of African scientist, advocates and civil societies who are trying to raise the awareness of public health threats to governments, agencies and communities to help people develop capacity against bio-security threat”, Abayomi said.
The Commissioner emphasized the importance of securing the environment stressing that the health of human beings depends on the health of the environment they live.
“Bio security simply means that the environment we live is safe. When we talk of bio security we talk of the security of the sphere we live and when the sphere is not secured we as humans are at risk of either excessive pollution or infections. We have to be very careful on how we interact with the society because there is a possibility that these pathogens can move from the environment into the population”, He said.
He noted that the leading role played by Lagos in the containment of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria coupled with proactive steps taken by the State against the raging COVID19 infectious disease makes it top choice for hosting the conference which is one of the biggest biosecurity conferences in Africa.
He opined that resolutions at the Conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world adding that the conference will afford Lagos the opportunity to review its strategic response against emerging infectious diseases.