FG, WHO inaugurate health emergency responders in Abuja

THE Nigerian government, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), inaugurated the first set of 82 health emergency responders in Abuja on Friday, December 9.

The core responders are expected to address health emergencies within 24 to 48 hours of occurrence.

The Minister of Health, Anthony Ehanire, said at the event that medical emergencies, many of which go unnoticed, were leaving adverse effects on the economy.

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“Our responsibility and our mandate go beyond public health emergencies, which we are fully in support of, but there are others.

“We are losing up to 50,000 women every year in childbirth, and that is a huge emergency. We are losing over 900,000 children every year,” Ehanire said.

Due to threats of disease outbreaks after flood disasters in various parts of Nigeria, the federal government and WHO had launched a programme to train about 350 Nigerians on emergency health response.

The initiative was themed, ‘Capacity Building, Learning and Training to On-Board the AVoHC Strengthening and Utilising Response Groups for Emergencies (SURGE) Team’, and was begun in November.



    The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Mulombo, pledged the organisation’s commitment to strengthening capacity within the health sector, adding that the initiative would kick off in six states.

    “We will not only be able to scale up the SURGE in the six pilot states, we will also go beyond to make sure that the entire country benefits from this initiative. It is our hope that the country will truly build on this to make sure that we put in place the capacities that are truly needed to respond to future outbreak.

    “We look forward to leveraging on data and innovation to create a community of practice where other countries who learn from what will be happening in Nigeria use the workforce we are developing to support other countries in Africa during the worst emergencies,” Mulombo said.

    States involved include Abia, Yobe, Kano, Lagos, Edo and the Federal Capital Territory.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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