By Emma Amaize
WARRIâ€”WORRIED by the rate at which Nigerians die from epidemics,theÂ National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health have inauguratedÂ a jointÂ Committee for Early Warning Systems (EWS) against the spread of diseases through appropriate safeguards and action to reduce their risk.
The Director General of NEMA, AVM Mohammed Audu-Bida (rtd), disclosed this at the inaugural meeting of the panel,Â which has membership from the US-Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Ministry of Health, Red Cross, representatives from State Emergency Management Agency (SEMAs) from Lagos and Bauchi and NEMA zonal coordinators, Head of Press and Public Relations,Yushau Shuaib, said in a statement.
Audu-Bida stated that the outbreak of epidemics and emergencies in Nigeria have increased in frequency and intensities in the last decade, especially on cholera, Cerebrospinal Meningitis and avian Influenza, adding the country has had its share of the epidemics with debilitating consequences and disturbing impacts on communities threatened by those hazards which require empowerment of individuals and communities through early warning alerts.
The NEMA boss said early warning Systems (EWS) becomes an instrument in providing timely and effective information on those-at-risk of epidemics so that they could act in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner to reduce their vulnerability and loss to lives.
AVM Audu-Bida also disclosed that the agency has commenced the process for the implementation of Vulnerability Capacity Analysis (VCA) to promote disaster resilience in the communities.. He said that the outcome of the analysis would be useful in disaster risk reduction.
He said through the VCA, some of the common hazards in the communities would be identified for prompt actions and timely interventions.
He said the Committee on that was recently inaugurated by the agency as a follow-up to various in-house activities already embarked to involve the stakeholders in identifying their roles towards a nationally accepted and uniformed vulnerability analysis.
According to him, though some states have embarked on their separate VCA, these would be harmonized based on the new standard developed by the Agency in collaboration with the stakeholders and other development partners such as the UNICEF.
Among the stakeholders on the committee on VCA are the UNICEF, World Health Organization, National Orientation Agency, Nigeria Metrological Agency, Federal Ministries of Finance; Women Affairs and Health, Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution, representatives of SEMAs from Kaduna and Bauchi
Six states (Adamawa, Benue, Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Kaduna) representing the geo-political zones and the FCT have selected for the commencement of the VCA on a pilot basis.
NEMAâ€™s main objective for the inauguration of the two different committees is to ensure a flawless mechanism and reporting systems so that responses are effective and prompt by the lead agencies, especially ministries of health at federal and state levels.