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AU nominates Nigeria, 4 others as disease control centres

Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health
Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health
The African Union (AU) has nominated Nigeria, along with four other countries from the sub-regions of the continent to serve as Africa Centres for Disease Control (ACDC). The other countries are Gabon, Egypt, Zambia and Kenya.
Olawale Maiyegun, Director of Social Affairs, African Union Commission, who made the disclosure to newsmen in Abuja on Saturday, explained that the centres would be the Regional Collaborating Centres (RCC) for AU on disease control.
Maiyegun said that the nomination, spread across West, East, North, South and Central Africa, would see the countries have a coordinating office inside the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
He said that the idea was approved in 2015 with a mandate to each of the five sub-regions to nominate one country each as a collaborating centre.
“We are supposed to embark on a visit to see if the institutions being put up by these countries meet the criteria contained in article 26 of the ACDC statutes.
“We are in Nigeria and our aim is to determine if the National Centres for Disease Control (NCDC), which serves as centre for disease control in West Africa, meets the criteria that are contained in the statutes.
“We are not comparing the countries with each other rather we are evaluating and assessing them to ensure they meet every criterion,” Maiyegun said.
He said that AU would achieve the mandate through government commitment, human resources, infrastructure and funding.
The AU representative commended the efforts of the Nigerian government toward the realisation of the idea going by the commitment demonstrated by the minister of health.
“We were received by the minister of health for state who demonstrated clear knowledge on the subject matter.
“We also got calls from the honourable minister of health; we were not disappointed by the deep knowledge that he showed.
“It shows that they understood deeply the issues of public health and the reason for our coming,” he added.
Maiyegun said that NCDC could take on the responsibilities that had been entrusted to it going by what had been put on ground.
He expressed the hope that the Federal Government would provide its counterpart funds for the project.
He commended the Federal Government’s strategy used to combat polio and expressed the hope that it would be sustained.
According to Maiyegun, the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) that is dedicated to the fight against polio in Nigeria is strong and well established and the government will need to continue to sustain the project.
He, however, said that AU partners were prepared to support Nigeria and efforts would be made to correct the gaps identified.
Maiyegun urged the minister to ensure the country lived up to expectation in managing its triple responsibilities of being the NCDC, Regional CDC and a collaborating centre for ACDC.

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