Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment (GET) Consortium has intensified its campaign for a Bio-secured Africa.
This was at the centre of their message at its recently organised dinner in Lagos themed “Partnership for a Bio secured Africa”.
At the dinner, the Lagos State government urged professionals and stakeholders across health, agriculture, security, environment, civil society and development sectors to strengthen their health systems for effective deployment responses against Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID).
Speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said: “The best policy that will protect the health system is to recognise and value the role of nature in reducing systemic risks and mitigate the risk of future zoonotic disease outbreaks by addressing their root causes.
“EIDs have led to pandemics and pandemics cause havoc. The intensity of EIDS is on the increase and as the African population quadruples in the next 50 years, Africa will be a continent of mega cities with major health, toxicity and biosecurity threats.”
Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Dr. Ayodotun Bobadoye, who disclosed that drought, flooding, desertification and sea level rise are biosecurity threats in Nigeria, noted that “Infectious disease outbreaks are inevitable, but we can mitigate their effect through prevention and preparedness.
“The government does not have finances and technology and that’s why there’s introduction of the private sector
“A robust and vibrant private sector is vital for research and development against emerging and re-emerging bio-security threats.”
He re-affirmed commitment to address challenges of emerging disease in partnership with the state government and private sector using a strategic framework.
Established in August 2014, the vision of GET is to tackle emerging threats of infectious disease outbreaks, which while admitting are inevitable, posited butter that mitigation of their effects can be done by investing in prevention and curative methods.
GET was involved in the treatment of Ebola in 2014 in Sierra Leone and through this it opined they learnt some techniques and processes which was brought back to Nigeria and put in place certain things as a form of preparation for the next infectious disease.
This, they credited as why despite the high population of Lagos that underwent three forms of COVID-19 strands, the impact was not as high.
Given that the Biosecurity space is opening the space for Bio-economy, food security and energy are threatened due to economic war in foreign countries like Russia and Ukraine, which automatically has a diverse effect on Africa.
The consortium noted that for every threat there’s an opportunity even though Bio security threats like COVID,
Monkey Pox, Lassa Fever, PathogenX exist.
For increased infectious diseases and bioterrorism threats, the effects are mortality and morbidity plus economic digression, hence why GET intends to respond quickly to biological shock, find pathogens and stop it.