Saturday, October 24, 2015 8:39 pm
By Ayorinde Oluokun.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, has reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the early establishment of the Regional Centre for Disease Control with headquarters located in Nigeria.
Mr. Awute said this when he declared open the technical committee meeting of the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) which has the responsibility of validating the working documents for the establishment of the Centre.
He said disease control and epidemic prevention are among the main concerns and priority of ECOWAS, especially with the region’s experience of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Another important area, he said, is to address the fragile nature of the sub-region’s health systems and improve capacity to prevent, diagnose and control epidemics.
The Permanent Secretary recalled that the Health Ministers, at their 16th Ordinary Assembly on March 13, 2015 in Niamey, agreed to establish a Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention with the Headquarters in Nigeria. He said this decision was ratified at the 47th Ordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on May 19, 2015 in Accra Ghana.
Mr. Awute said with the Accra declaration, the Federal Government has put necessary machinery in motion to ensure the full establishment and early take-off of the Centre in Nigeria. He also commended the efforts and collaboration of the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO in bringing the decision to reality.
Earlier in his address, the Director General of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr. Xavier Crespin, thanked the Government and people of Nigeria for hosting the meeting. He said the main purpose of the Technical Committee Meeting was to validate all documents for the creation and establishment of the ECOWAS Centre for Disease Control. He said the final document to be produced will be presented to the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS for ratification next month in Dakar, Senegal.
Dr. Crespin also thanked all the partners, including the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their contribution in seeing to the early establishment of the Centre. The Director General also appreciated the dedication of the participants in the previous meetings which he said, would make the final documentation an “easy exercise.”
He said he was impressed with the attendance in which 17 out of the 18 Member Countries were present