The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has noted that the correlation between health security and economic stability for nations cannot be overemphasized. He stressed this in Abuja while on a visit to the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
While noting that the Nigerian government is contending with various economic and social priorities, the ambassador advised the country to continue to invest in building resilient health systems.
“This will safeguard citizens and act as a strategy to bolster economic transformation in the nation,” he said.
In a statement, NCDC said Symington’s visit reinforces the role NCDC plays as Nigeria’s national public health institute, demonstrates a strong confidence in the long-standing relationship with the Nigerian government. It also highlights the progress made in the prevention and detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks.
Symington described his experience at NCDC as an eye-opener to how things can be done efficiently in a public-sector organization.
“I commend the NCDC for being a model for other national public health institutes on the continent,” he said.
He also noted the position of 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 United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) we have supported the 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 said.
The Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole received the US Ambassador alongside the Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu. Dr Ihekweazu briefed the Ambassador on NCDC’s key achievements, current challenges and priorities for the future.
Prof Adewole described the ambassador’s visit as important to NCDC, adding it has given the agency and the Federal Ministry of Health a platform to share our strategic commitment to national and global health security.
“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,” Adewole said.