• News - South West - Lagos
  • Updated: February 08, 2020

Nigeria Lacks The Capacity To Deal With An Outbreak - Senator


Following a visit to the Port Health Services at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the Apapa Seaport, Lagos on Friday, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and Communicable Diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, concluded that the Nigerian Government was not equipped with an  “adequate response mechanism” to treat the outbreak of diseases.

He stated, “We don’t have adequate response mechanism in handling eventuality of an outbreak in this country and that is what we just confirmed during our visits to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Apapa Seaport.

“It is unfortunate that we have to wait until we have an issue before working on how to curtail it. That doesn’t help us to achieve any solution to the health needs of our people. Taking it forward from here, we will go back to the drawing board; we have to stop this ‘fire brigade approach’  to solving our problems. There must be permanent structures to solve our problems, whether we have outbreaks or not. We must put all the necessary things in place at all the points of entry.

“From what we have seen at the airport and the seaport in Lagos, it shows that we have a lot of gaps that need to be filled for us to say we are prepared for any eventuality.

“The gaps include human resources, especially health workers, at the airport and seaport. At the port health located at MMIA, we have one doctor, and at the port health at Apapa Seaport no doctor is there.

“We also have equipment deficit; basic equipment required to provide an immediate response is not available. At Apapa Seaport, they don’t have the mobility to move to inspect vessels.

“Also, we found that the seaport’s port health is not connected to modern technology, which means we are exposed.”

Technical Officer for the World Health Organization Health Emergency Programme, Dhamari Naidoo, on speaking about the risk that Nigeria could be in when it comes to its susceptibility to disease outbreaks, she said that Nigeria was very vulnerable, as it has frequent dealings with China, stating that nine states in the country with ports of entry into tthe country, consisting land, water, and air, were under the focus of the WHO.

READ ALSO: South-West States To Review Amotekun Bill

The states under the organization's watch are Lagos, Kano, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Enugu, Delta and Bayelsa states and the Federal Capital territory.

In her words, "We are currently working hard to identify isolation points in high risk states. In Abuja, the Teaching Hospital in Gwagwalada has been identified and in Lagos, we have identified the Infectious Diseases Hospital, in Yaba.

“The National Reference Laboratory in Gaduwa, Abuja is working and we are currently working with the University Teaching Hospital in Lagos to get it running this weekend. Overtime we will have more laboratories in the country signaling they are ready to test samples."

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Kindness Udoh

A severely bored individual with a knack for making sense of the human existence. He writes leaning...

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