Federal Govt. Reiterates Support For WAHO
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
The Minister of State, Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has reiterated the commitment of Nigerian Government to advance the Agenda of the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) in the country and the African Sub-region at large.
The Minister made this known while receiving the Director General WAHO, Professor Stanley Okolo, who paid him a courtesy visit, in Abuja, recently.
In his speech, Ehanire assured the DG that the Federal Government was ready to support WAHO in strengthening the Nigerian Health System in order to increase access to quality medicine and reduce cost of health care in the country.
Considering the population of Nigeria, ‘’her industrial capacity needs to be transformed in terms of drugs and vaccine production, capacity building, human and animal health, emergency medicine and bulk procurement’’.
Describing WAHO as the ‘clearing house for diseases’ in West Africa, Ehanire said the organisation needed to synergise with the Nigeria Health Sector in the area of post graduate training in clinical specialities like radiologists, pharmacologists, pathologists and capacity building for public health officers.
He appealed to WAHO to support Nigeria Pharmaceutical industries by entrenching their products in the sub-region through policy formulation. This, he said would reduce cost of drugs and improve access to health products in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries. ‘’ If Nigeria is developed she will assist other neighbouring countries to develop their capacities in emergency medicine and improve their health indices’’.
He urged WAHO to encourage inter country collaboration in order to harmonise the Sub- region in disease Emergency response against communicable and non-communicable diseases like TB, yellow fever, malnutrition etc.
Speaking earlier, the DG expressed his delight at the desire of Nigerian Government to support WAHO adding that the purpose of his visit was to explore areas of collaboration in terms of responding to epidemics by aligning her challenges with the objectives of WAHO.
He cited Maternal and Child Mortality, Pharmaceutical inadequacy in terms of drugs, vaccine production and quality control. He advocated for a Centre of excellence in Nigeria which he said would involve partnering with China, African Development Bank, etc. This, according to Professor Okolo, would go a long way in reducing medical tourism out of the region.
Professor Okolo also urged the Nigerian Health Sector to ensure strong networking in terms of technology and diagnosis irrespective of where they operated. He further commended the Nigerian government for assisting WAHO to advance the frontiers of medicine and the Agenda of WAHO in the sub-region.
Congratulating the DG on his new appointment, the Permanent Secretary, Health, Mr. Abdullahi Mashi, charged Professor Okolo to take advantage of available opportunities in WAHO for the benefit of Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region at Large.