As part of efforts to contain Ebola, Lassa fever, monkeypox, yellow fever and others, the Federal Government has inaugurated a national One Health Strategic Plan.
The plan, which was jointly developed by the Federal Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Environment and their agencies, integrates human, animal and environmental health management for improved health security.
It reinforces Nigeria’s commitment to strengthen a multi-sectoral collaboration for health security. This plan will be implemented over a five-year period spanning 2018 to 2023.
Several studies have shown that the health of humans and animals share a common link with the environment as most infectious diseases that affect human beings are zoonotic (that is originate from animals, and occur at the human-animal-environment interface).
Nigeria continues to experience annual outbreaks of zoonotic diseases including Lassa fever, monkeypox and yellow fever.
The new One Health strategic plan, which was inaugurated yesterday in Abuja by Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Adeleke Mamora, outlines the country’s plan to strengthen the prevention, detection and response to infectious diseases that affect humans, animals and the environment.
It recognises the interconnectedness of the health of people to that of animals and the environment, as well as offers a collaborative, multi-sectoral and trans-disciplinary approach for zoonotic diseases.
To improve the country’s implementation of the One Health Strategy, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) pledged their continuous support for Nigeria.
The WHO and OIE supported the organisation of the International Health Regulations and Performance of Veterinary Services (IHR-PVS) bridging workshop in Abuja from December 9 to 11, 2019.
The workshop allowed for the review of capacities across the human and animal health sectors. Mamora said Nigeria was the first country in Africa to launch a One Health plan signed by ministers of Health, Agriculture and the Environment.
He said, “Nigeria has developed a One Health Strategic Plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges. This approach drives innovations that are important to manage the outbreaks we experience and offers synergy across our various Ministries.
“We hope that the implementation of this plan in Nigeria can serve as a model for other African countries.”
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, his environment counterpart, Muhammad Mahmood, who was represented by Chika Okpala, committed to continuous collaboration with the ministries of Health and Agriculture for the successful implementation of the plan.
Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed the agency’s commitment to continue serving as a strong secretariat for One Health functions in Nigeria.
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