Health Security

In a significant step toward enhancing Nigeria’s health security, The Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria (HERFON), alongside its consortium partners Vaccine Network for Disease Control (VNDC) and Gem Hub Initiative (GHI), supported by the African Health Budget Network (AHBN) took on a project. This project is titled “Strengthening Accountability for Health Security Finances and Vaccines Equitable Access in Nigeria,” 

Dr. Celestine Okorie, Executive Secretary of HERFON, announced this development, emphasizing the project’s focus on enhancing the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. The consortium’s participation in the Africa Regional Advocacy Summit for NGOs and media, organized by AHBN, highlighted discussions on mobilizing domestic resources for health security in Africa.

The consortium was also involved in the Joint External Evaluation – Health Security Action Plan, conducted by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC). This evaluation assessed the nation’s preparedness and response capabilities across 19 technical areas.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of strengthening health security preparedness. The Federal Government’s initiatives, including the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS 2018-22) and the establishment of the Public Health Emergency and Outbreak Response Fund (PHEORF) under the NCDC, were commended as vital steps.

Mrs. Chika Offor, founder of VNDC, emphasized the need for domestic resource mobilization to support the national health security agenda, advocating for reduced reliance on multilateral organizations. She highlighted the importance of increased accountability and transparency in managing public health security funds. To enhance accountability, She proposed that civil society organizations (CSOs) should have a permanent role in the formulation and execution of the national health security agenda, as they can effectively track accountability on behalf of the public.

Mrs. Oyeyemi Pitan, Executive Director of Gem Hub Initiative, stressed the need for improved coordination in developing and implementing the National Health Security Agenda. She underscored the importance of involving critical stakeholders, such as the office of the National Security Adviser and the National Biosafety Management Agency. Mrs Pitan also advocated for adopting a “One Health” approach, this collaborative, multi-sectoral, and transdisciplinary strategy aims to achieve optimal health security at local, regional, national, and global levels.

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