The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Federal Ministry of Health have commenced the process to strengthen community resilience against epidemics in country.
Director General of NEMA, Muhammad Sani Sidi disclosed in Abuja when he received a delegation from the World Economic Forum.
He said move has become imperative in view of discovery that epidemics and diseases are leading causes of deaths in Nigeria.
“Compiled data of top ten natural disasters in Nigeria by Emergency Management Data Base, (EM-DAT) sorted by number of people killed, indicated that the ten were exclusively epidemic.
The Director General of NEMA said the agency, “realizing the inevitability of pandemic and the attendant grave consequences, sought for support of the United States of America (Africom) to develop the Nigeria National Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response Plan, Armed Forces of Nigeria Pandemic Contingency Plan and the Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA).”
The epidemic support plans obtained with the assistance of the American authorities, according to him were unveiled and submitted to the Health Ministry in 2013 were capable of galvanizing all relevant organs and the society against the outbreak of any epidemic.
He said about 8 months after the unveiling, there was outbreak of Ebola which “Nigeria achieved high degree of success in containing the pandemic partly because we did not start at a zero level. We knew it was a possibility, we have a plan that recognized the need for the society wide preparedness and action and that was exactly what we did.”
Earlier, leader of the delegation Mr David McLachlan-Karr said the visit was aimed at interacting with the agency to explore how the private sector could be engaged in emergency response as they were presently underutilized or not properly recognized.
He commended the response of Nigeria in containing the Ebola pandemic, as the response was decisive and well coordinated.