Today marks 3 years since Ebola entered Nigeria. To commemorate this historic day, DRASA hosted a panel discussion titled Public Health: It Starts With Me in collaboration with Quramo Conferences.
Our international partners are in Lagos for 1 week to conduct a scoping visit for our simulation training program. Since their visit coincides with the 3 year anniversary of the day Mr. Patrick Sawyer left Monrovia, Liberia and landed in Lagos (bringing the deadly Ebola virus with him) we decided to host an event to:
Our speakers included:
Dr. Jide Idris
Honourable Commissioner for Health
Lagos State Ministry of Health
Dr. Joan Benson
Executive Director, Partnerships, Public Health and Scientific Affairs
Merck & Co. Inc.
Dr. Olumide Okunola
Senior Health Specialist
International Finance Corporation (IFC)/World Bank
Dr. Glen Gaulton
Vice Dean & Director, Center for Global Health
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Mrs. Fola Laoye
Director, Hygeia Nigeria Limited
Director for West Africa Investments, Investment Funds for Health in Africa (IFHA)
Prof. Muyiwa Odusanya
Professor of Public Health & Consultant Community Physician, Lagos State University College of Medicine
Visiting Professor, Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan
Dr. Lolu Ojo
Founder/CEO, Merit Healthcare Limited
Representative, ADCEM Healthcare and ADCEM Pharmaceuticals
Chairman, National Drug Distribution Committee, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria
Honorable Commissioner Dr. Idris spoke about the importance of collaboration with the private sector. Remembering the response to Ebola in Nigeria in 2014, he recalled, “private sector involvement is key. There were so many things we discovered we did not have as a state. Companies gave us vehicles and materials.”
Mrs. Laoye touched on the role of individual private sector health facilities saying, “the Ebola intervention in Nigeria happened in a private facility.”
Prof. Odusanya called for the need to strengthen disease surveillance and Dr. Ojo touched on some of the reasons behind self-medication – a problem for disease surveillance and outbreak containment – and discussed the use of public health and awareness campaigns as a solution.
Dr. Gaulton pointed out how all levels of the health system are responsible to be prepared for outbreaks, saying, “A break in the chain could lead to disaster. It’s only a matter of time before another outbreak occurs in Nigeria because the practical implementation of infection control within the delivery system is not in place in Nigeria.”
The panel uncovered a lot of the pain points and challenges involved in making sure Nigeria is prepared for the next public health threat, but we also identified some solutions and first steps which we look forward to implementing with our partners.