Nigeria Reiterates her Commitment to the Prioritisation of Global and National Health Security by conducting the National Joint External Evaluation (JEE 3.0)

Thursday, June 22, 2023

22 June 2023 | Abuja - Nigeria Reiterates her Commitment to Prioritisation of Global and National Health Security by conducting the National Joint External Evaluation (JEE 3.0)

With the greater globalisation, scientific innovations, and technological advances of the 21st century in particular, the world and its inhabitants are more interconnected than ever before. While this is good for trade and exchange of products/goods/etc., this has come with increasing challenges to national, regional, and global health security. The interconnectedness of the world against a backdrop of climate change, war, displacement, and natural and man-made disasters is associated with an increased risk of the spread of infectious diseases. The first Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-1) outbreak in 2002-2003 exposed weaknesses in global health systems and highlighted the importance of a coordinated response. In response to lessons from this outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) embarked on a process to revise the International Health Regulations. The revised version, known as the International Health Regulations (2005) was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2005 and came into force in 2007.

The International Health Regulations (2005) are a set of legally binding obligations for countries to develop the capability to detect and report potential public health emergencies worldwide. All countries are required to have the ability to detect, assess, report, and respond to public health events. The IHR also outlines specific obligations for member states, such as the establishment of national focal points, strengthening of core public health capacities, and cooperation in sharing information and resources during public health emergencies. It emphasizes the importance of surveillance, risk assessment, communication, and cooperation among countries to prevent and control the international spread of diseases.

Nigeria signed the IHR (2005) including the commitments under the provisions of the IHR Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for mandatory annual reports of compliance through the States Parties Annual Reporting tool and the voluntary Joint External Evaluations (JEE) that assesses country-specific status and progress in developing the required capacity to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health threats. Nigeria had a baseline JEE in 2017 that thoroughly assessed the country's public health security system using a multisectoral approach that involved external and internal teams of experts working with country teams. The JEE results revealed strengths and weaknesses in the country's preparedness and response capabilities towards public health emergencies and recommendations were offered.

The National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) 2018-2022 was collaboratively developed to address identified gaps and in response to recommendations following the 2017 JEE. This five-year multi-sectoral NAPHS plan involved over fifteen Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs). It integrated various work plans to address the gaps identified by the JEE and Performance of Veterinary Services assessments conducted in 2010. Since implementing NAPHS, there has been significant investment by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) to enhance public health preparedness and response capacities. These investments by the federal government of Nigeria as well as its partners include but are not limited to the.

• Passage of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) Bill.

• Digitisation of the national disease surveillance network.

• Development of a risk communication and community engagement framework across all levels (national, state, and local government levels).

• Establishment of State Public Health Emergency Operation Centres (PHEOCs).

• The adoption of a One Health framework improved the coordination of national One-Health activities.

• Designation of three POEs- Abuja, Kano and the Enugu International Airports with adequate structures and capacities of staff for public health response.

• Increase in laboratory capacity at the national and sub-national levels.

• Development of policies on national biosafety and biosecurity.

Consequent to these, a country-led 2019 mid-term JEE showed some progress; a 7% increase in readiness scores compared to the baseline in 2017. This success is a testament to the government's commitment, partners support and the usefulness of the NAPHS in improving Nigeria's capacity to handle public health emergencies. The adoption of the IHR and the investments made was instrumental in the national responses to diseases of pandemic significance like Ebola in 2014, Mpox in 2017, and the novel SARS-COV2 (COVID-19) in 2019.

Drawing from the achievements and lessons learned from previous JEEs, Nigeria has once again voluntarily requested to participate in another JEE in line with IHR requirements using the new/revised JEE 3.0 tool. The JEE 3.0 compared to the previously used JEE 2.0 incorporates lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic exposed gaps in health equity globally and this third edition will enable more constructive conversations around issues of health equity and its intersection with other relevant capacities.

The JEE 3.0 evaluation will help measure Nigeria’s progress in addressing previous recommendations and identify new areas for improvement considering evolving national and global health threats.

In preparation for the National JEE by external evaluators, the country has outlined activities with a given timeline. They include.

• High-level advocacy briefing on JEE process and timelines -19th June 2023.

• Training of IHR focal leads on the self-assessment process/tools - 3rd – 5th July 2023.

• 5-day Self-assessment Workshop - 17th -21st July 2023.

• Self-assessment validation workshop - 26th – 27th July 2023.

• 5-day JEE Workshop – 14th -18th August 2023.

This evaluation process is of utmost importance as it will help us assess and strengthen Nigeria's health security capabilities through a multisectoral collaboration for a comprehensive and accurate evaluation of our health security systems. This will ensure we identify gaps, develop effective strategies, and implement necessary measures to safeguard the health of our nation.

About NCDC

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection, and response to public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission of the NCDC is to protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response, using a One Health approach, guided by research, and led by a skilled workforce.


NCDC Toll-free Number: 6232 | SMS: 08099555577 | WhatsApp: 07087110839 Twitter: @NCDCGov | Facebook: @NCDCgov | Instagram: @NCDCgov | NCDC Media Releases


Dr Ifedayo Adetifa

Director General

Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

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