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Sustain bio-response capability against disease outbreak – US envoy

Mr John Bray, the U.S Consul General to Nigeria, on Wednesday called on the Federal Ministry of Defence to sustain the clinical bio-response capability for outbreak of highly communicable and infectious diseases.

Bray made the call at the Ministry of Defence Health Implementation Programme (MODHIP) and Walter Reed Programme Nigeria (WRP)’s bio-preparedness training and research in Lagos.

The training and research was organised by the United States Embassy in Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Defence in Lagos.

He said that the training was aimed at preventing and mitigating outbreak of infectious diseases in Nigeria.

“The United States Government strongly believes that healthy people make way for stronger and more stable nation and enhance international security.

“We will work with the Nigeria military to develop clinical and laboratory capacity, bio-surveillance and response capability as well as evaluate infectious diseases counter measures in Nigeria.

“Due to our interest in infectious diseases, 2015 marked the beginning of the Joint West Africa Research Group (JWARG) led by the U.S Military HIV Research programme.

“It is to fill the need of Nigerian national and sub-regional resources for bio-response capability against the highly communicable pandemic threat,” Bray said.

Amb. Danjuma Sheni, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, said that the training was to strengthen the capacity of participants to detect and respond appropriately to public health emergencies.

Sheni, who was represented by Dr Oluwatoyin Akinlade, the Director, Medical Services in the Ministry, said that the training of medical staff on prevention and management of infectious diseases was very important.

“The outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) of 2015 in Nigeria revealed the weak prevention efforts and inadequate disease detection mechanism.

“It shows lack of sufficient capacity to respond to public health emergencies in the affected countries.

“Luckily, the imported outbreak in Nigeria was successfully managed and contained nationwide,” Sheni said.

The permanent secretary said that efforts had been made to accelerate research and development of an Ebola vaccine.

“It is pertinent to note that the support of the Federal Ministry of Defence for the military partnership established 12 years ago has contributed significantly to the nation’s response.

“Significantly too, the sustainability of this partnership, through counterpart funding by the Federal Government of Nigeria, makes it global model.

“The Federal Ministry of Defence appreciates the support of the United States Government and it’s hope that the collaborative efforts will continually yield the desired goals.

(Source: NAN)

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