Lagos moves to tackle biological threats

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Lagos moves to tackle biological threats

Doris Obinna

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Iidris, has disclosed that the State government is developing a bio-banking capacity and a bio-security framework along the lines of One Health model and Global Health Security Agenda, for optimal health outcomes. 

Idris, who made the disclosure at a conference on Biosecurity and One Health, explained that the global approach in the preparedness and response to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases involves the implementation of One Health model as part of the biosecurity agenda of the state.

 He stated One Health recognises the interconnection among people, animals, plants and their shared environment, adding that it also documents that six out of every 10 infectious diseases in human are transmitted from animals.

“One Health recognises that the health of the people is connected to health of animals and the environment. It is a collaborative, multi-sectoral, trans-disciplinary approach operating at the local, state, national and global levels with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes,” he said.

Idris observed that in view of the fact that Lagos, being a fast-growing megacity with the likelihood of proliferation of biological agents that could threaten the wellbeing of the inhabitants, “it becomes mandatory for the state government to design and implement an urgent health care agenda, policy and legal framework to establish its biosecurity and research capability.”

He hinted that lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak in 2014 led to the inauguration of the State Ebola Virus Disease Research Initiative (SEVDRI) Committee with the mandate to conduct research for the development of prevention, control and management measures to mitigate against a future outbreak of the disease. 

The commissioner revealed that one of the recommendations of the committee was the establishment of a Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory, which, according to him, led ultimately to the collaboration with Global Partnership Programme (GPP), Canada.

The collaboration, Idris explained, resulted in the establishment and commissioning of the Lagos State Biobank, a facility that would provide a safe storage of biological and environmental samples, enhance prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases, and act as a research centre for cutting edge researches within and outside Nigeria, for improvement of global public health.

Idris emphasised the need for collaborative efforts with Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC); Nigerian Institute Medical Research as well as other relevant stakeholders to achieve overall success.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves, reiterated the commitment of the state government to continuously put in place proactive strategic planning to improve the health of Lagosians.

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