By FOLUSHO ALADE
The Director General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, DR CHIKWE IHEKWEAZU have said there is need for sustained financing for health security in Nigeria in order to better prepare for Pandemics like the Covid-19.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday at the National assembly complex, Abuj, during a budget defence, DR IHEKWEAZU said there is need for a robust health security financing in Nigeria while also advocating for the country to adopt a proactive approach to the issue.
In his words: ”what we are asking for is sustained funding for health security”
“Health security is not something you fund when you have a problem.
“It is something you fund in preparedness for.” He said.
Speaking on the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the Nigerian economy, IHEKWEAZU said the economy came to a standstill because of the pandemic. According to him the NCDC wants to prevent such from happening again in the future.
He however said that can only be achieved if the country invests in resources; human and infrastructural to sustain the gains and achievements made by the agency so far.
“We have seen the entire economy in Nigeria come to a standstill because of a single infectious disease” he said.
“We want to prevent that from ever happening again in the future.
“The only way is to invest in the resources, in the human beings, in the infrastructures, in the equipment, in our labs, EOCs and everything we have set up this year.
“In order to protect us, so we can get on with our lives”. IHEKWEAZU stated.
Commenting on the efforts of the agency in the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic so far, the DG said his agency is working round the clock to help people live a normal life again.
“At NCDC we don’t want to be the agency that stops people from living”. He said.
“We want to be the agency that enables business to happen, enable people to go to weddings again, to stop wearing of masks.
“But the only way we can do this is to invest in preparedness”
“To better prepare for the emergency we are facing”. He advised.
Commending the efforts of the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease led by SENATOR CHUKWUKA UTAZI, the NCDC boss said the committee has been supportive in the areas of funds appropriation and release for the NCDC.
“The Nigerian centre for disease control has had a good relationship with the senate committee on Communicable disease and Primary health care.
“The committee pushed for the bill that led to the act establishing us”. He said.
“The committee has supported us, appropriated for us, and supported the release of funds in our emergency mode which we have used to respond to this big pandemic”. He concluded.
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC is Nigeria’s leading national public health institute. The agency is under the Federal Ministry of Health
The bill of the act establishing the Agency was signed into law by PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARi in November 2018.