The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has inaugurated the first batch of core responders to respond to emergencies within the first 24 to 48 hours of its occurrence.
At the graduation ceremony of the 82 core responders in Abuja on Friday, Mr Ehanire said at least 100 emergencies occur across Africa per week, causing damage to health and economic systems.
The core responders were trained under the theme “Capacity Building, Learning and Training to On-Board the AVoHC Strengthening and Utilising Response Groups for Emergencies (SURGE) Team”.
According to Mr Ehanire, there are public health emergencies that are already running quietly in the country.
“So our responsibility and our mandate goes beyond public health emergencies, which we are fully in support of, but there are others.
“We are losing up to 50,000 women every year in childbirth and that is a huge emergency. We are losing over 900,000 children every year.
“According to reports, we have 6,000 people killed in road traffic accidents every year and 17,000 from accidents who are maimed, permanently disabled every year. All of these are serious emergencies.”
He, however, said that the SURGE initiative promotes availability of equipment, well equipped teams with everything streamlined to respond to emergencies within the specified time frame.
He said they would also fully align with the concept of the resilient and sustainable health system for improved health outcomes and Universal Health Coverage.
He referred to it as a wealth of information that could turn around the detection and response time for emergencies within Nigeria and beyond.
The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Molumbo, said the organisation is committed to strengthening regional and sub national capacity to prepare and respond to public health emergencies in an increasingly globalised, unionised and connected world.
He added that people always being on the move was giving rise to an amplifying threat of multiple infectious hazards, in addition to natural disasters, conflict, climate change and other emergencies.