The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has directed Heads of Federal tertiary hospitals in the country to prepare, equip and be proactive in responding to disease outbreaks.
Adewole, who spoke in Abuja during a meeting with the Heads of the Federal government tertiary health Institutions said the meeting was convened to chart a way forward in case of any disease outbreak in the country.
“I should start with global health security, as we might be aware, we have been dealing with series of outbreaks over the last one year. We started with Lassa, we moved on to cholera, there were pockets of measles and now we are dealing with meningitis”.
He urged the general public to notify the Federal Ministry of Health about any outbreak to enable prompt deployment of a response team.
“The outbreak of meningitis in Zamfara State actually started late November 2016, but we did not know till February which was unfortunate. If we got to know early, we would have deployed the vaccines available, created awareness and taken charge of the situation early enough, but since we did not know, we lost valuable time to respond to the outbreak”
He urged all theFederal tertiary hospitals to adopt secondary and primary health facilities, supervise and ensure they work well during emergencies.
“We cannot pretend that what is happening outside our tertiary health centres does not concern us, and this is one reason we must interact with the primary and secondary health facilities in the States, otherwise we would spend valuable time treating diarrhoea and vomiting instead of looking after the complex cases that we ought to do”.
In his remarks, the National Coordinator, Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said the Centre had already dispatched response teams and was presently working with the state governments in affected areas of Sokoto and Zamfara on early detection and treatment.
Ihekweazu said the Agency was working hard to prevent the outbreak of cholera as the rainy season had begun in parts of the country.