The Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has emphasized the need for strategic preparedness against high consequence pathogens and infectious diseases as key to strengthening Africa’s resilience to face emerging biosecurity threats.
Sanwo-Olu, who unveiled this today at the Policy Session of the ongoing 6th African One Health and Biosafety Conference, organized by the Lagos Ministry of Health in association with the GET Consortium, explained that only a strategic level and Effective preparation can save the human race from emerging infectious diseases.
He noted that Lagos is still learning lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasized that the identified gap in the State’s response to the infection will be closed to strengthen the State’s resilience to effectively address COVID19 and other infectious diseases that may occur.
“COVID19 is still around us, but it is the learning we need to have Post-COVID-19 that is very critical. In 2021, we are going to dedicate budget to ensure that our learning ability is well documented, ”said Sanwo-Olu.
The governor reiterated his commitment to build infrastructure that will adequately prepare the state for future health crises, while noting that equitable and quality health services remain paramount.
“Yes, we have a level 3 biosafety lab, but we also need to have a plan to make sure we continue to scale and reach the bar to be sure that in the next five to ten years, and we are still working on that plan.”
“Infrastructure is also very important, people should see that we are increasing, not only in training or skills development, but also in the actual infrastructure on the ground. We will make sure to build structures that can outlive us and that is why I am pleased to report back also that we have plans to build an Africa Center for Infectious Diseases that is dedicated to research and development on disease knowledge and management. infectious diseases in our Center for Infectious Diseases. Hospital for diseases in Yaba, ”he said.
Sanwo-Olu added that his administration recognizes the need to improve its preparedness against future biosecurity threats, especially after having learned from the COVID 19 pandemic, adding that the state does not want to be just an epic center, but also a research center. and development that will be of great benefit to the future generation.
While commending the efforts of the organizers of the 6th African Conference on One Health and Biosafety, the Governor should not overlook the importance of strategic health conferences like this one because they will help guide health policies, plans and programs in order to to improve and protect the health status of citizens.
Earlier in his comment, Health Commissioner Professor Akin Abayomi said that the three-day event was planned to bring together a consortium of African scientists, doctors and experts in a health-related field to raise awareness of the threats to public health in Africa. communities and states.
He said the conference on the theme “Strengthening Africa’s Resilience to Address Emerging Biosecurity Threats: Lessons from the COVID19 Pandemic” is well thought out as there is a need to continually emphasize the key importance of the African response in the fight against emerging infectious diseases and preparing against future biosecurity. threats.
“This conference has been taking place for six years in collaboration with this organization called the global emerging pathogens consortium, which is a consortium of African scientists, advocates, and civil societies who are trying to raise awareness of threats to public health in governments, agencies and communities to help people build their capacity against biosecurity threats, “said Abayomi.
The Commissioner highlighted the importance of protecting the environment and stressed that the health of human beings depends on the health of the environment in which they live.
“Biosecurity simply means that the environment we live in is safe. When we speak of biosecurity we speak of the security of the sphere in which we live and when the sphere is not secured, humans run the risk of excessive contamination or infections. We have to be very careful in how we interact with society because there is a possibility that these pathogens can pass from the environment to the population, “he said.
He noted that the leadership role played by Lagos in containing the Ebola virus disease in Nigeria, coupled with the proactive measures taken by the State against the infectious disease COVID19, makes it one of the best options to host the conference. , which is one of the largest biosafety conferences in Africa.
He opined that the resolutions at the Conference will help chart a positive course for the strategic response against biosecurity threats in Africa and, by extension, the world, adding that the conference will provide Lagos with an opportunity to review its strategic response against diseases. emerging infectious diseases.