Rivers gets Public Health Emergency Operations Centre for control of diseases

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From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt.

Public HealthRivers State now have Public Health Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, in Port Harcourt, set up by the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Nigeria Centre or Disease Control.

Speaking at the commissioning in Monday, representatives of World Health Organisation, WHO, NCDC, and Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, pledged to support the Rivers State Ministry of Health to improve its surveillance on disease and epidemics outbreak. In the state

Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that the parastatasl would support the centre in the state to achieve its mandate optimally.

Ihekweazu stated that NCDC has within one year of its existence established 22 EOCs adding that the essence was to ensure that disease outbreak does not take any state unawares.

He said: “We will do our best to provide you the needed support. Although the state has the capacity to run this place, but we will ensure that we give you the support required of us.

‘Since 2018 we have supported 21 centres in Nigeria in setting up this facility, this is the 22 state EOC across the country. The establishment of EOC is part of measures to strengthening the state for health security, because we cannot manage health from Abuja.

“We are really focused and supporting all the states in Nigeria to strengthening their own capacity. We understand the strategic importance of Rivers State to the nation.

“The EOC will coordinate the outbreak preparedness control, functional public health laboratory that can carry out basic diagnoses for epidemics, digital surveillance system to report incidents and outbreaks and a strong work force for preparedness on outbreak and response. We will continue to support you achieve this function.

”Also, World Health Organisation assured that as a partnership organisation in the state that it would ensure that it gives the required assistance to the centre.

Speaking the representative of the body in the state, Chinenye Okafor said: “We have had our fair share of disease outbreaks like that of Ebola in 2014. We believe that we will work together as a team.

“We are partners we are here to support the state. We also pray that we always have funding to run this EOC. The NCDC has done their part, it is now left for the state to pick up the challenge and ensure that the EOC runs most effectively.”

Also, state Chairperson of NMA, Dr. Ogbelebra Adebiyi promised that doctors in the state would partner the centre in its operations.

Adebiyi said: “I want to thank NCDC for doing this. Having seen what happened during the Ebola outbreak which i was at the treatment centre as a doctor. The Ministry is aware of the partnership of the NMA.

“We are assuring Rivers State that doctors will partner the state to ensure that the EOC functions very well.”

However, the Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr. Agiriye Harry, disclosed that the centre also has the ability to monitor social media platforms.

Harry said: “The centre is public health emergency operation centre, it monitors epidemics and natural disasters, its Hi-tech compliance. The most touching about it is that it also monitors social media real time. It is a complete lab. It is the command centre when there are epidemics and natural disasters.

Sourced From: The Authority News

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