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Upgrade State Epidemiology Units To State Centres For Disease Control...

Upgrade State Epidemiological Units to State Centres for Disease Control

March 15,2020

Dr Solomon Chollom

There is need for State Epidemiological Units to be immediately upgraded to State Centres for Disease Control (SCDC) to up their activities by expanding their mandate in this era of relentless disease outbreaks, especially with the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. The upgrade will follow in the steps of the present day Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) which came to be as an improved version of the previously existing Epidemiological Unit in the Federal Ministry of Health

The former platform had a lot of encumbrances ranging from limited scope to undue interferences from mainstream ministerial beaurocratic bottle necks. With the present proactive posture of NCDC, it is clear that these limitations have been taken care of as the body is now autonomous.

Recall that the setting up of the NCDC became imperative in view of increased disease outbreaks in Nigeria from the first decade in 2000. The NCDC has done exceptionally well in stemming relentless disease outbreaks and going forward, it has to be supported strategically from the base, that is at the state level. This is even more so as we wake up daily to increased threat of emerging epidemics and pandemics

Establishing SCDC across the 36 states will make the NCDC more robust in terms of rapid response and visibility at the grassroots. The activities will be more elaborate and every inch metre of the country will be covered in terms of disease surveillance, outbreak investigation and health awareness campaigns.

It will also go a long way to address the feeling in some sections that the NCDC as presently constituted is largely elitist, with massive presence on twitter and social media and not in touch with the common man in rural settings.

Of course a SCDC in Delta state will concern itself, among other things, with public health awareness in local languages like itsekiri and igbo while a SCDC in Adamawa will have jingles in Fulfulde, Bachama and Hausa.

State Epidemiological Centres have brought us thus far but obviously, they need instant upgrade if they will take us further with good impact in the face of emerging pandemics
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