To contain future outbreaks of deadly diseases like the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), Nigeria and 40 other countries have begun putting measures in place with support from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Speaking to reporters yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) , Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu said “simulation for a global pandemic response involving more than 40 countries takes place from December 4 to 6, 2018, coordinated by the World Health Organisation’s Global Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and by the ‘EOC Network’, a global network of health emergency operations centers.
“This is the first global pandemic response training exercise, and the third in a series of simulations this year, following regional exercises in Jordan and Senegal.
“Our national EOC located at the NCDC in Abuja has joined the exercise. Participants are drawn from the Incident Coordination Centre (ICC) at NCDC, the ‘one health’ ministries (Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), the WHO country office in Nigeria and the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention Country Office. A representative from the Public Health England is part of the exercise as the evaluator for Nigeria.”
He added that EOCs from other nations will join the interactive scenario, responding to inputs sent via e-mail from WHO EOC.
The scenario will be centered around an outbreak of influenza with pandemic potential on a fictional island nation of Mizzou.
The NCDC Boss further explained that “There is no actual virus: this is an internet training exercise. The exercise takes place only within the offices of national and international EOCs. There is no deployment of people or goods. The exercise will not affect public or official activity.
“The exercise is occurring on the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic (‘Spanish flu’), which is estimated to have infected one-third of the global population and resulted in the death of millions of people. The most recent global flu pandemic occurred about a decade ago. These events occur periodically, and it is only a matter of a time before another global pandemic occurs. Member states have been working diligently with WHO to be prepared for the next event.
“The exercise offers participants a way to test their plans and capabilities in a realistic environment to gain in-depth experience that can best be achieved by practice. Evaluators drawn from Asia, North America, Europe, and Africa will be watching how the participating EOCs perform in real time, measuring performance against what is expected from existing procedures.”
Meanwhile, the NCDC has confirmed fresh cases of Lassa fever have been reported, three each from Ondo and Edo states with no new death recorded.