By: Prudence Okonna
Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) in partnership with Breakthrough Action Nigeria (BAN) has come together to build the capacity of health stakeholders on “One health” communication strategies to improve synergy for tackling health security in the Territory.
Building the capacity of the stakeholders was part of the goal of a three-day workshop held in Abuja for staff in the health sector across Secretariats, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Capital Territory.
The One Health approach is centered on bringing together stakeholders cutting across Human, Environmental and Animal health in order to optimize Inter-Agency collaboration.
Team Lead, Public Communication/Risk Communication and Community Engagement Officer, NCDC, Paul Majam, says that apart from building the capacity of stakeholders in the health sector, another goal was to identify at least five zoonotic diseases to prioritize in terms of emergency response in the FCT.
Majam noted that prioritizing these diseases is to enable responders contain the outbreak within the shortest time possible to avoid further spread in the communities.
His words: “The reason for the training was for us at the national to support the subnational to identify at least five zoonotic diseases to prioritize in terms of emergency response, which usually requires a ready plan on ground to enable responders contain the outbreak within the shortest time possible to avoid further spread in the community”.
The Risk Communication Expert revealed that identification of the five zoonotic diseases in the FCT was factored into the training of the state team to help them develop a well-designed, real-time and actionable information for the public to enable them make informed decision.
Majam noted that ultimately, the workshop wants to see a functional and working relationship among the one health workers, proper coordination and collaboration instead of the usual working in silos that had characterized the sectors in the past.
One of the participants, a Chief Veterinary Officer, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Dr. Khadija Ibrahim disclosed that this is first of its kind; stating that she is very impressed about the workshop.
While believing that by bringing health stakeholders together from different SDAs to work on the zoonotic diseases rather than working in isolation, she said that much will be achieved in containing the spread the diseases in the FCT.
The five Zoonotic diseases that have now been prioritized in the FCT include Avian influenza, Lassa Fever, Yellow fever, Rabies and Mpox.
The stakeholders who attended the workshop cut across the Health and Human Services Secretariat (HHSS), Agricultural and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS), Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Information and Communication Department of the FCT.