Nigeria has recorded 54 percent in the second Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of the country’s health security capacities.
This is an improvement from the 39 percent it scored in its first JEE conducted in 2017.
Health security involves activities and measures across sovereign boundaries that mitigate public health incidents to ensure the health of populations.
It was developed to help countries assess their capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats.
The 2023 JEE was conducted from August 14 to 18. It makes Nigeria the second country in Africa and third globally to conduct a second JEE.
Director-general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, who spoke at the end of the JEE exercise in Abuja on Friday, said Nigeria recorded a 10 percent improvement in the area of prevention, 8 percent in the area of detection, 18 percent in the area of response and greater improvements in other indicators.
He said the progress made was not just by the NCDC but by the country’s health security system which involves multiple agencies covering health, environment and agriculture among others as well as sub-national levels.
External evaluators lead and senior advisor of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global JEE secretariat, Dr Hendrik Jan Ormel, urged the country to create a five-year risk based National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) and also develop accountability.
Ormel also urged the country to empower and enable the implementation of the NAPHS starting from 2024 to address the gaps in health security identified JEE, the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergency disasters.