Between 9th and 11th of March, Nigeria will be hosting the African Union in an assessment visit. The African Union is considering Nigeria as one of the host countries of the continental center for disease control. This means if selected, the Center for Disease Control of Nigeria will co-serve as a coordinating institution as a regional and continental center.
As Nigeria prepares to welcome delegates of experts from across the continent, representatives of the World Health Organisation, United States Center for Disease Control, China Center for Disease Control and the West Africa Health Organisation, we proudly showcase our readiness as a hub of human capital with broad experience in local and regional response to disease prevention and control.
Since 2014 when the current leadership of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control commenced operations, the country has embarked upon audacious interventions around infrastructure development, capacity building, global partnership and research. These efforts came timely during the Ebola outbreak during which Nigeria developed methods that helped in containing her local outbreak and was also able to support neighbouring countries with major outbreaks. Indeed the intervention of Nigeria was key to the West African containment of the outbreak.
This response yielded further global leadership for Nigeria as Nigerian experts now serve on global committees and have been decorated in different parts of the world for their outstanding efforts.
The formation of the Nigeria CDC through networks of research centers, laboratories and collaborating academic centers across the country creates a national web which allows for rapid response. These assets which had been on ground before the formation of the NCDC were consolidated into an institution which now coordinates central and remote operational sites.
As the most populous country in Africa with diverse socio-economic factors, the country found a rigorous learning ground for management of multifaceted array of events with serious public health implications. From the military to private sector institutions and other government institutions, which continue to work within the network of institutions of the NCDC, Nigeria has grown preparedness and capacities for global health security concerns and continues to respond successfully to these conditions from time to time.
The infrastructure and talent pool of experts has equally created a technology backbone which can sustain data exchange processes of varying scales. This has helped in the development of local tools of global excellence which have helped in response to disease outbreaks in Nigeria and beyond.
Finally, the political commitment of Nigeria to disease control is clear. President Muhammad Buhari clearly stated in his inaugural speech, in May 2015, that his government will work with global partners in effort to tackle global diseases threats. This position is expected to reflect in rapid development of the NCDC through infrastructural upgrade, capacity building and financing.
Nigeria as the entertainment hub of Africa will make a great destination for scientists from around the world. Our weather, culture and food coupled with our dance, music and Nollywood makes it the place to position the Africa Center for Disease Control.
Nigeria proudly expresses interest in hosting Africa year round. We have hosted our brothers from across the continent, over and over again. We want to become one of the African homes to disease control and prevention experts from around the world.
We invite all Nigerians to join us in the campaign; it is good for us today, it is good for our children tomorrow.