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CDC Nigeria Stresses Importance of Strong Public Health System in Nigeria (November 28, 2012)

Abuja | November 28, 2012
Dr Okey Nwanyanwu country director CDC Nigeria, responding to reporter's questions_Embassy Photo by Idika Onyukwu

Dr Okey Nwanyanwu country director CDC Nigeria, responding to reporter's questions_Embassy Photo by Idika Onyukwu

The U.S. Embassy to Nigeria hosted a press briefing on Wednesday, November 28, highlighting World AIDS Day and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control-Nigeria’s efforts to help Nigeria respond to contagious disease outbreaks and other health issues. Dr. Okey C. Nwanyanwu, Country Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Nigeria (CDC-Nigeria), emphasized the importance of a strong public health system in Nigeria that can help prevent and control diseases. 

“In the U.S., CDC is the public health agency that works to save lives and protect people from health threats by monitoring, preventing, and controlling diseases,” said Dr. Nwanyanwu. “It’s critical for Nigeria to continue to invest in the workforce, systems, institutions, and culture which support a strong public health infrastructure to improve the health of its people and save lives.” 

CDC-Nigeria has supported Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health in building the foundation for a strong public health system by helping to establish Nigeria’s Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) and Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control, both of which are modeled after U.S. programs. 

Nigeria’s FELTP consists of a two-year training of doctors, veterinarians, clinicians, and others interested in public health. Its main goals are to build a workforce and institutionalize capacity for public health and help respond to health issues and threats. Since its inception in 2008, Nigeria’s FELTP has responded to and helped control 73 outbreaks of diseases like lassa fever, polio, rabies, and cholera. The program has graduated 105 people who work in 33 states all over Nigeria. 

In 2010, CDC-Nigeria helped establish Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) housed under the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health to support and sustain critical public health activities. Like CDC in the U.S., NCDC coordinates health responses and intervention activities to prevent and control emergencies and outbreaks. Abdulsalami Nasidi, M.D., Ph.D., OON, is the director for the agency. 

“The U.S. is committed to helping establish a strong foundation for public health in Nigeria to prevent and control diseases,” said Dr. Nwanyanwu. “Prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s cheaper than cure and it saves more lives than cure. That’s how public health works and why it’s critical to continue to invest in a system that supports it.” 

About the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Nigeria

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention office in Nigeria was established in 2001. To achieve CDC-Nigeria’s vision “Public Health Excellence for Healthy Nigerians,” the office supports the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health in the development, implementation, and evaluation of disease response efforts and programs that contribute to a strengthened public health infrastructure in Nigeria. 

Learn more about: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Nigeria
09-460-1600, cdcnigeria-info@ng.cdc.gov

Nigeria’s Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program 
09-291-3685, gbekeloluwa2003@yahoo.com