OUTBREAK OF LASSA FEVER, ZIKA VIRUS: FG ORDER’S ESTABLISHMENT OF DISEASE SURVEILLANCE MECHANISM IN MILITARY BARRACKS.
Following the spread of ravaging diseases like Zika virus and Lassa fever, the Federal Government has directed the Armed Forces Health Implementation Program (HIP) to commence the establishment of effective disease surveillance mechanism in all military barracks and bases.
In this regard, 46 military officers selected from the services are undergoing the first tranche of the training because of the nature of military assignments that required regular movements both within and outside the country.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Ambassador Danjuma Sheni who made the disclosure at the opening of a 6-day ‘Disease Outbreak Investigation and Management Training for Armed Forces Health Personnel’ in Abuja, noted that there was need to also strengthen Laboratory capacity to conduct basic diagnostic investigations.
Represented by Dr. Oluwatosin Akinlade, Director, Medical Services (MOD), Amb. Sheni said, the training should be focused on increasing critical knowledge and operational skills of armed forces personnel in outbreak management as well as establishing relationship with key stakeholders within the framework of the federal ministry of health.
Emphasizing that building the military’s capability, in planning ahead and for prompt responses to the outbreak of any form of diseases in the country in general is crucial, the Perm Sec said the workshop could not have come at a better time than now.
Commending the Health Implementation Programme which was established eleven years ago to firstly curtail the scourge of HIV/AIDS among troops, their families and the civil populace for remaining steadfast, Sheni said the programme was borne out of partnership between Ministry of Defence and US Department of Defence with the primary mandate to build human capacity and provide relevant laboratory facilities among others.
“Over the years, the activities of the programme had focused on other diseases including Tuberculosis, Malaria, Ebola etc, with tremendous successes. The significant reduction in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the armed forces personnel and the conduct of a study on Ebola vaccine are some of the achievements of the NMOD-USDOD partnership” he said.
Earlier, Director General Defence Health Implementation Programme, Brigadier General NAA Hussain noted that since the health status of troops is a critical index of combat efficiency and readiness, there is need for proactive measures to be taken to ensure that troops and their families attain optimum health.
“Having recorded significant success in HIV control, the programme’s mandate has increased to include diseases of public health and military significance and research. The diseases in focus include Malaria, Tuberculosis, and viral hemorrhagic fever (Ebola, Lassa Fever, Yellow Fever etc.” Hussain said.
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