The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington has called on the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to invest in building resilient health systems, as this would help in safeguarding citizens and act as a strategy to bolster economic transformation in the nation.
Symington, who made this call during a courtesy visit to NCDC in Abuja recently, said the disease control organisation plays a significant role as Nigeria’s national public health institute, adding it highlights the progress made in the prevention, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks.
Symington who noted that the visit demonstrates a strong confidence in the long-standing relationship with the Nigerian government said: “The experience that I have had during my visit to NCDC headquarters has shown me how things can be done efficiently in a public-sector organisation.
“I commend NCDC for being a model for other national public health institutes on the continent.”
The ambassador also reinforced the US government’s leadership and commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), whose goal is to support countries to strengthen their ability to prevent and respond to epidemics.
“Through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC), we have supported NCDC to train frontline health workers, strengthen laboratory capacity and disease surveillance across the nation.
“Particularly laudable among NCDC’s recent achievements, is the coordination of the development of a National Action Plan for Health Security.
“This plan reinforces the need for multi-sectoral collaborations to fight epidemics and ensure global health security,” he added.
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, who received the US Ambassador alongside the Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the visit was important to NCDC as it has given the agency and the Federal Ministry of Health a platform to share their strategic commitment on national and global health security.
He said: “The government of Nigeria has increasingly demonstrated that national governments can take ownership for protecting the health of their citizens. We are grateful to the US government for the continuous support we receive to strengthen our health sector.”