By Asma’u Ahmad
The Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, said this at the launch of Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness and Response (A4EPR) in Lagos.
The launch of A4EPR is aimed at getting major stakeholders in the health sector to combat infectious diseases.
The alliance is an initiative of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria (PHN) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
The PHN is in alliance with NCDC and a coalition of private sector which has in its fold: Dangote Group Plc., MTN Nigeria, Total Nigeria, Shell Foundation and Tony Elumelu Foundation.
The mission of the group is to seek a way forward in bringing intervention to the risk of infectious diseases, draw attention to the need of innovative partnerships in health emergency.
The group also seeks to introduce to the private sector and key stakeholders to the alliance of A4EPR and secure forward commitment and pledge of private sector toward health security.
The NCDC boss, who stressed the need for urgent moves to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, said Nigeria actually needs about N4 billion to combat infectious diseases.
“This does not mean that all the monies must come from government; the private sector has a role to play.
“There is the need for financial assistance in critical segments of combating infectious diseases such as infrastructure and equipment which needs about N1.8 billion.
“The infrastructure and equipment are responsible for the machines and test variables while we also need response and logistics of about N700 million.
“In Emergency Stockpile, we need N600 million, for Technology and Innovation segment, we need N600 million, Capacity Development needs N200 million, while Advocacy and Community engagement will require N100 million.”
Ihekweazu said that the agency was mandated with the task of enhancing the countrys preparedness and response to epidemics.
He added that “we are responsible for the prevention, detection and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
“The core mandate of the NCDC is to detect, investigate, prevent and control diseases of national and international public health importance.
“We played leading role in the response to the outbreak of Lassa fever, Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) Cholera, Yellow Fever and Monkey Pox.
“For now, we need to be deliberate in our actions because we are not sure of the next outbreak, so we need to have all the facilities intact and also get enough funding.”