The Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Prevention Control (NCDC), Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, has emphasized the need for higher budget allocations to enhance the country’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. Dr. Adetifa made this plea during an interview marking his two-year anniversary in office.
He stressed that dedicated funding for health security implementation would bolster the country’s ability to deal with public health emergencies effectively. Dr. Adetifa also underlined the importance of strengthening support at the subnational level, considering Nigeria’s federated structure.
In his words, “We must establish robust relationships with different states and invest in subnational work to enhance health security in the country. We need to prioritize health. Health goes beyond capital projects – buildings and facilities. You need the human capital, equipment, training, and quality systems.”
He expressed his belief that by gaining political leadership’s commitment to prioritize health, more funding would be directed toward the health sector. Dr. Adetifa also acknowledged the efforts of certain state governments like Lagos, Kano, and Gombe, which have dedicated budgets for emergency preparedness and response. However, he called for more states to follow this path and for the national government to increase its commitment to healthcare funding.
Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of continuous surveillance and monitoring, particularly concerning diseases like Lassa fever as the season for such outbreaks approaches in November.
Dr. Adetifa stressed that addressing healthcare challenges requires a collective effort from both the government and the public. He also acknowledged the issue of brain drain within the public health sector, emphasizing that attractive remuneration for public service jobs is essential to retain skilled personnel.
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