Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease and Prevention Control (NCDC), has requested more funding to better monitor for and respond to public health emergencies.
On the occasion of his two-year anniversary in office, Adetifa made the request during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.
According to the director-general, increased public health response capacity is a direct result of budgeting specifically for health security.
Given the federated nature of the country, the NCDC director further stressed the importance of bolstering subnational support.
For the country’s health to be more secure, it is necessary to have strong ties with individual states and fund local initiatives.
Health must be our top priority. Buildings and infrastructure are only the beginning when it comes to health. You’ll need resources such as people, tools, education, and quality assurance measures.
More money will be allocated to health care once political leaders begin to see it as a top priority.
Some state governments, I think, are allocating a sizable portion of their own budgets to health care. We need to see a groundswell where this is being done by more states and the federal government.
“Lagos, Kano, and Gombe state have dedicated budgets for emergency preparedness and response, while others face resource constraints,” he explained.
As the country prepares for the Lassa fever season in November, he also asked for constant observation and monitoring to identify and respond to the outbreak.
It will take a concerted effort on the part of both the government and the people to solve the problems in the healthcare system. “It’s not just the NCDC’s job to do this; we need help from a wide range of organizations and the involvement of concerned citizens,” he said.
He admitted that the government faces an internal and international brain-drain problem in the public health sector.
“The lack of attractive remuneration for public service jobs contributes to the difficulty in retaining skilled personnel,” he said.