Yesterday we attended the launch of the Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement (REDISSE) Project in Abuja and the Honorable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole inducted DRASA into the National Steering Committee for the project!
We are very excited to support this 5 year, World Bank-funded project which aims to respond to the gaps identified during the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis in West Africa and strengthen preparedness and response for such outbreaks in the future using a One Health approach.
The project covers all countries within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region and for Nigeria, it has taken over 3 years to design. So this launch was not a small feat.
REDISSE’s 5 focus areas in Nigeria are:
As Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, CEO of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said, “this project is the first opportunity of its kind anywhere in the world to support prevention, detection, and the response to infectious disease outbreaks. We have a unique opportunity in Nigeria because this is not to finance any new project or new activity. It is to strengthen what we have already defined as our priorities in these broad areas.”
He continued, “for the first time, it really provides us an opportunity to bring together health and agriculture in a truly One Health response. We’ve been talking about this but finally there’s some money behind this effort and with this we will work together with our colleagues to ensure we protect the health of our people.”
In the words of the Honorable Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole, “we must face the reality that other public health challenges are likely to occur for quite a number of reasons. One is global warming, the other is ease of public transportation…it’s so easy to transfer disease across countries. In fact, they no longer recognize boundaries and this is what is unique about REDISSE. REDISSE is not going to be limited to Nigeria. It’s going to cut across countries.” This statement succinctly summarizes why we are really looking forward to supporting the implementation of this project. It’s going to have a huge impact on the region and the world.
When inducting DRASA’s Managing Director Niniola Soleye to represent DRASA on the National Steering Committee, the Honorable Minister said, “I am particularly interested in the organization that you represent. The focal person and the image of the organization as represented typifies the Ebola struggle and I want to thank you. Please convey our best regards to her family and that the cause for which she died will not be a lost one.”
Check out a few more images from the project launch below.