Nigeria has numerous points of entry into the country which makes our nation porous and vulnerable. As the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated, these points of entry can be the perfect places for infectious diseases to enter the country through passengers, animals, food, and other cargo.
Because points of entry are very critical to the control and prevention of infectious diseases for any country, health personnel working at these points of entry need to be equipped to find and quickly contain infectious diseases while also protecting themselves. They need to become “disease detectives” who can identify dangerous infections and stop them from spreading in order to protect the rest of us.
To support the health services and workers at our points of entry and strengthen Nigeria’s health security, we participated in a training of “master” personnel from the Federal Ministry of Health’s Port Health Services (PHS). These officials were carefully selected and based on the skills and knowledge they have gained, they will train others in the 13 points of entry into Nigeria where they serve.
The hands-on 2-day training, which was hosted by our partners ProHealth International, focused on developing 15 Port Health Services staff to become leaders who not only fulfill their duties in their respective locations around the country, but also lead others to do the same.
The purpose of this training was also to ensure Nigeria is implementing the World Health Organisation’s International Health Regulations (IHR), which require countries to establish and maintain core capacities for infectious disease detection and response around the country and at designated points of entry.