The Commissioner for Health in Lagos State, Dr. Jide Idris disclosed this at a conference on Biosecurity and One Health at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja.
He stated, “One Health recognises that the health of the people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is a collaborative, multi-sectoral, trans-disciplinary approach operating at the Local, State, National and Global levels with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes”.
The Commissioner observed that Lagos being a fast-growing megacity, the likelihood of proliferation of biological agents that could threaten the wellbeing of the inhabitants would greatly impact on its stability economically, socially and even politically.
“It becomes mandatory for the State Government to design and implement an urgent health care agenda, policy and legal framework to establish its biosecurity and research capability, without which the State will not be able to mount an effective prevention and containment response to biosecurity threats”, he stated.
He hinted that lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak in 2014, led to the inauguration of the State Ebola Virus Disease Research Initiative (SEVDRI) Committee with the mandate to conduct research for the development of prevention, control and management measures to mitigate against a future outbreak of the disease.
Idris revealed that one of the recommendations of the Committee was the establishment of a Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory which, according to him, led ultimately to the collaboration with Global Partnership Programme (GPP), Canada.
The collaboration, the Commissioner explained, resulted in the establishment and commissioning of the Lagos State Biobank, a facility that would provide a safe storage of biological and environmental samples, enhance prompt diagnosis of infectious diseases, and act as a research centre for cutting edge researches for researchers within and outside Nigeria for improvement of global public health.
The Commissioner emphasised the need for collaborative efforts with Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC), Nigerian Institute of Medical Research as well as other relevant stakeholders to achieve overall success.
He assured that Lagos, as a responsible government with a vision, would continue to build capacities of health workers, engage the community and do other things which are very necessary to bolster the health of the citizenry regardless of age, gender, religious, ethnic or political affiliation.
Earlier, in her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves reiterated the commitment of the State Government to continuously put in place proactive strategic planning to improve the health of Lagosians. She urged participants to be crusaders of preparedness for action during an epidemic emergency.