By; BAKA B. BITRUS, Minna
Lack of proper information and coordination by relevant ministries, departments and government’s agencies have been blamed for the usual huge death toll from diseases outbreaks and disaster in Niger State.
A meeting of various stakeholders in Niger state held over the recent outbreak of cholera and cerebrospinal meningitis in the state said such poor response to diseases outbreaks and disasters were the bane of the state’s effective health care delivery system.
The meeting called for the establishment of an Epidemic Preparedness Response, (EPR) Committee in the state to be vested with the responsibility of mobilizing resources and coordnation before, during health emergencies such as disease outbreaks and disaster in any part of the state.
The multi sectoral approach plans according to the communique issued at the end of the meeting, would also involve collaborations with no fewer than ten relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) along side the state’s Ministry of Information and Strategy in ensuring proper coordination of detailed information about disease outbreaks and control.
This was part of resolutionns at the end of stakeholders’ meeting on the outbreak of cholera and related diseases which was held Thursday in Minna at the Conference hall of the state’s Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs.
The communique signed by the duo of Dr. Ibrahim Idris, the Director, Public Health and Martha Kaura, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer, (Chairman and Secretary), respectively, attributed the ineffective control of disease outbreaks to poor or outright lack of detailed information about diseases.
The communique lamented that non-governmental organisations, (NGOs) and donor agencies who would have supported in the campaigns for the prevention of disease outbreaks in parts of the state, were more often not carried along or hardly identified for effective collaboration, synergies on health issues thereby resulting in more casualties than anticipated.
The communiqué which has eleven points, also called for the setting up of a technical subcommittee for proper liason in addition to ensuring that relevant donor agencies and NGOs be identified and their activities well coordinated to avoid duplication of responsibilities and as well to identify health issues that require more expert attention than what was now available in the state.
The state Ministry of Local Governments, Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs which is charged with the responsibility to manage and supervise disease outbreaks, was mandated to always ensure proper documentation of relevant partners during and after such emergencies.
The communiqué also called for the establishment of a new budget line for disease outbreaks/health emergencies in the state to avoid unnecessary delays and bottlenecks in sourcing for funds during emergency situations.
It implored the assistance and contributions of stakeholders to the budget line which must be accessible whenever the need arise.
The communique also suggested that the state government should, as a matter of urgency, resuscitate the monthly environmental sanitation exercise for the improvement in sanitary conditions and cleanliness of environment to avoid water, air and land polutions in both rural and urban areas.
The communiqué urged the state’s Ministry of Water Resources and Dams Development to rise to it’s responsibility of ensuring the availability of clean, safe water while the state’s Ministry of Health should intensify efforts at ensuring disease surveillance and management of cases.