NGO, NCDC harp on public health laws to boost emergency response

Resolve to Save Lives, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have stressed the need to strengthen public health at national and sub-national levels to boost emergency response.

The Legal Adviser, Resolve to Save Lives, Mr Cedric Aperce, at the sub-national International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 Legal Assessment Training of Legal Officers in Nigeria held in Abuja, explained that the group is an international organisation working in the public health sector and supporting cardiovascular programmes and the prevention of epidemics.

Aperce said that the organsiation supported NCDC by providing legal and technical expertise for them, adding that a methodology to do legal assessment at the national level was developed.

Also, the Deputy Director, Surveillance/IHR, NCDC, Dr Oyeladun Okunromade, said that the need to overhaul public health had become imperative to tackle lingering challenges in the sector.

She reiterated the call to strengthen public health laws to ensure that policies were put in place on public health events to expedite emergency response on any health challenge.

Okunromade said there is need to have up-to-date legal instrument, the essence is to strengthen IHR implementation as well as core capacities of health security in Nigeria.

Okunromade said that there was need to put policies in place in case of any public health emergencies to ensure that no particular person had such autonomy over the entire population within a particular space.

She said that legal practitioners were targeted to sensitise them to the need to strengthen the aspect of epidemiology.

Okunromade said that there was little that could be achieved as the country relied a lot on international support for the implementation of IHR.

According to her, when the legal instruments and policies turn to advocacy around the percentage to be voted for health, security implementation can begin.

Also, the Legal Advisor for NCDC, Safiya Musa said that the objective of the workshop was to train legal officers from the 36 states and FCT.

This, Musa said, was on the toolkit NCDC developed with its partner Resolved to Save Lives on assessment of state laws in compliance with international health revolutions.

“As you are aware, Nigeria is a signatory to international health regulation 2005 and NCDC is designated as a focal person for IHR in Nigeria.

“ So we are doing a legal mapping of all our laws, we have done the federal laws to see what are the impediments to compliance with IHR.

“Today we have gathered colleagues from the 36 states to train them on a toolkit developed on assessing the state laws to check for compliance with IHR 2005,” she said.

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