To complete the series of outbreaks of Lassa fever, Monkeypox, yellow fever, cholera, meningitis, Ebola and other epidemic diseases in Nigeria, the Nigerian Centers for Disease Control, the NSDS and the Health Alliance of the Private Sector of Nigeria, PHN, launched the Alliance for Readiness and Response to the Epidemic , A4EPR.
According to the NCDC, the aim of the A4EPR is to develop a formal framework for the private sector to support the Nigerian government through the NCDs in preventing, alerting, identifying, responding and combating outbreaks in Nigeria.
Recent outbreaks of epidemic diseases have caused considerable strain in the public health sector. In addition, these outbreaks affect the economy of the country through loss of labor, a decline in productivity and inefficiency of the business.
A4EPR is designed to address health security priorities, focusing on building capacity to protect the health of Nigerians. These priority areas include: – procurement of flash preparedness and response equipment; staff support during outbreaks; advocacy and communication, and capacity development.
Launching a new initiative at the private sector round table on health security in Lagos, Health Minister Professor Isaac Adevol said that the Alliance was created in order to keep the business on the ground, stop them from hemorrhaging and provide the comfort needed to conduct their investments.
Adével, who praised the initiative and expressed her commitment to support for the Alliance, said: "We need to assess some of the highlights of the outbreak in West Africa in 2014. One of them was that Nigeria was lucky, because there were about 300 field epidemiologists on the earth. Secondly, the outbreak did not begin in Nigeria and that this happened in the states of Lagos and Rivers – two of the most viable states in the country – was divine.
"If Ebola had happened elsewhere at the time this happened, it would have been a serious catastrophe. It helped us to cope with the situation. These were different things.
According to the minister, three key lessons in response to the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014 in Nigeria include a strong partnership between state and federal governments, public-private partnerships and effective teamwork.
He said: "The lesson for me is that we need to work together, the federal should work with the state, and we need a private sector. We need discipline, result-oriented approaches of the private sector and, most importantly, we need private sector resources.
"We need international partners and energetic media. We must be ready all year round to the beginning of the epidemic.
This year, we broke out the fever of Lassa, which surpassed all others.
WHO talks about the outbreak of X, we need to work on how oubreak will be and how we can get the commitment we require.
He described the recently launched platform as a unique strategic partnership between the NSDS and the Alliance of the Private Healthcare Sector of Nigeria.
During the panel discussion with representatives from the Dangote Foundation, Total E & P, the MTN Foundation, the Tony Elumel Foundation, Facebook and the Lagos State Health Commissioner, each participant shared his organization's experience in the response to the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and other combating outbreaks, highlighting the recommendations and areas for future cooperation.
Describing the efforts to develop the initiative as an A4EPR, the Director-General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ikeveasu and his colleague from PHN, Dr Muntaqa Umar-Sadiq expressed his optimism that it would serve as a safe and sustainable platform for partnerships between public and private sectors in the health sector of Nigeria.
Next year, the A4EPR will work to ensure that the private sector will meet its objectives.