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With the review of Nigeria’s International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005) capacities to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats, a new average Joint External Evaluation (JEE) score of 46% for Nigeria has been announced. This is a 7% increase from the 2017 score of 39%.

In 2017, Nigeria conducted a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of its IHR capacities. These regulations are global standards of countries’ preparedness to tackle public health threats.

This was coordinated by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as the IHR National Focal Point, with close involvement of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) whose functions are related to national health security.

The normal duration of this is five years. Two years after the first JEE, a mid-term assessment has been carried out to review progress and gaps since 2017, as well as priorities towards improving national health security,

From November 18to 21, 2019, key stakeholders from 29 MDAs involved in health security used the World Health Organization (WHO) approved tool with 49 indicators to assess Nigeria’s capacity in the 19 technical areas.

This was validated by a mission team from the World Health Organisation, Public Health England, Resolve to Save Lives, US Centers for Disease Control, Georgetown University, African Field Epidemiology Network, ProHealth International and University of Maryland Baltimore.

The findings from the JEE show that Nigeria has made some progress since 2017. This is especially in areas such as legislation, policy and financing; zoonotic disease; biosafety and biosecurity; laboratory system; reporting; emergency preparedness; and response operations; medical countermeasures and risk communication. In other areas, there has been no change or a decrease in capacity.

Receiving the results for Nigeria, Osagie Ehanire, the Minister of Health, reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to health security in Nigeria, and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering commitment.

“Since the first JEE, we have made progress, progress with which I am very pleased.”

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