Nigeria has launched a national One Health Strategic Plan that integrates human, animal and environmental health management for improved health security.
The plan which was jointly developed by the Federal Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), and Environment as well as their agencies, reinforces Nigeria’s commitment to strengthen a multi-sectoral collaboration for health security. This plan will be implemented over a five-year period (2018 – 2023).
The health of humans and animals are interlinked with the environment. Majority of infectious diseases that affect human health are zoonotic i.e. originate from animals, and occur at the human-animal-environment interface. Nigeria continues to experience annual outbreaks of zoonotic diseases including Lassa fever, monkeypox and yellow fever.
The new One Health strategic plan launched in Abuja by the Honourable Minister of State for Health, outlines the country’s plan to strengthen the prevention, detection and response to infectious diseases that affect humans, animals and the environment. The plan recognises the inter-connectedness of the health of people to the health of animals and the environment, and offers a collaborative, multi-sectoral and trans-disciplinary approach for zoonotic diseases.
To improve the country’s implementation of the One Health Strategy, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) pledged their continuous support for Nigeria. Both WHO and OIE supported the organisation of the International Health Regulations and Performance of Veterinary Services (IHR-PVS) bridging workshop in Abuja from 9th to 11th of December 2019. The workshop allowed for the review of capacities across the human and animal health sectors.
Nigeria is the first country in Africa to launch a One Health plan signed by the Ministers of Health Agriculture and Environment. The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Adeleke Mamora who led the launch of the plan stated, “Nigeria has developed a One Health strategic plan to meet its human, animal and environmental health challenges. This approach drives innovations that are important to manage the outbreaks we experience and offers synergy across our various Ministries. We hope that the implementation of this plan in Nigeria can serve as a model for other African countries.”
Speaking at the launch, Dr. Dooshima Kwange, who represented the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, commended the various activities that are driven through the One Health approach such as the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP), multi-sectoral disease technical working groups and joint investigations of zoonotic diseases and other public health events. She stated that the FMARD and its agencies remain fully committed to ensuring the success of the One Health platform by achieving accelerated growth in livestock products for self-sufficiency.
In the same vein, Chika Okpala, representative the Honourable Minister of Environment, Mr Muhammad Mahmood, committed to continue the strong collaboration with the Ministries of Health and Agriculture for the successful implementation of the One Health strategic plan.
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed the agency’s commitment to continue serving as a strong secretariat for One Health functions in Nigeria.
Dr. Ihekweazu noted that the involvement of the Honourable Ministers of Health, Environment and Agriculture, who also had signed the document, in the One Health strategy plan,, signaled high political commitment to health security in the country.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) will serve as secretariat for the execution.