ECOWAS Regional Center for Surveillance and Disease Control opens doors
Abuja, February 21, 2018 – The Minister of State for Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Osagie Ehanire and the Minister of Health of the Togolese Republic who is the current Chair of the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS, Professor Mustapha Mijiyawa joined the Deputy Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), Dr. Laurent Assogba and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu to commission the ECOWAS Regional Center for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCSDC) Headquarters in Abuja.
The commissioning which was witnessed by several partners including the World Health Organization (WHO), USAID/West Africa, GIZ, UNAIDS, UNICEF, staff of WAHO and NCDC was also the opportunity to induct the first batch of staff members into office and to kickstart the operations of the ECOWAS-RCSDC.
Delivering the keynote address, the Minister of State for Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Osagie Ehanire noted the importance of having a regional center for disease control in the sub-region. “It is therefore important for the West African sub-region to have a hub to coordinate public health response.”
He commended WAHO especially the Director General, Dr Xavier Crespin for his role in ensuring that the center becomes a reality.
The Honorable Minister before ending his address reiterated the commitment of his Ministry to work with WAHO, the governments of ECOWAS member states and all technical and financial partners, to move the ONE HEALTH agenda forward.
Earlier, three speeches were made; these were the welcome speech by the Deputy Director General of WAHO, the Speech by the Hon Minister of Health of the Togolese Republic, Chairman of the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS and a goodwill message from WHO representing partners.
Dr Laurent Assogba, the WAHO Deputy Director General stated that “the opening of this Regional Center is a testimony of our collective efforts at ECOWAS to prevent epidemics which have raked havoc in the sub-region”.
Professor Mustapha Mijiyawa, the Honorable Minister of Health of the Togolese Republic on his part stressed on the need “to be proactive in achieving long term solutions through collaboration and information sharing”. This he said is “to ensure a unified sub-region without losing sight of our responsibility as required in the IHR 2005”.
The World Health Organization called for “a coordinated effort to mitigate the adverse effects of the epidemics in the sub-region”, as more than 70% of diseases affected by the sub-region is of infection origin.
The Minister of State for Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Minister of Health of the Togolese Republic later cut the tape and inspected the ECOWAS-RCSDC offices where they interacted with the new staff members.