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Back ‘pandemic treaty’- stakeholders tell FG

Stakeholders in the health sector have called on the federal government to be fully engaged in the pandemic treaty negotiations in order to mitigate the impact of health hazards.

They made the call at a meeting on the pandemic and International Health Regulations (IHR) amendment, organised by a Civil Society Organisation, Resolve to Save Lives, in Abuja.

The stakeholders were optimistic that with Nigeria’s ratification of the treaty, it would ensure protection for it’s citizens from future pandemics, gain access to global resources and contribute to global health security.

The pandemic treaty process is an ongoing effort by the international community to improve preparedness for future response to pandemics.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire noted that the country had yet to advance a “robust contribution” to the development of the draft document as well as understand the implications on the sectors of the country, particularly on health security, national security and the economy.

He, however, assured the stakeholders of the Federal Government’s full support and cooperation to take a position that is “presentable”.

Speaking on the IHR 2005 Amendment: Overview and Key issues, the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the proposed new treaty would address the challenges and help prevent disease outbreaks from impacting on individuals.

“The New treaty could complement other initiatives, actions aimed at making the world safer from pandemics, serve as regulations, early detection and prevention, respect for human rights, non-discrimination as well as recovery of health systems,” he said.

The Country Director, Resolve to Save Lives, Dr Emmanuel Agogo, explained that the meeting was about global governance infrastructure for health security after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The whole idea is to structure a new cooperation with other countries coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), so that if something happens Nigeria can get help.

“Previously the expectation is that when you as a country sign up to IHR, everybody will help everybody, but during COVID we saw that that did not happen, So the whole idea is that since it did not happen that way, how do we structure a new cooperation with other countries coordinated by WHO, so that if something happens, one will get help?”

He added that all other countries are expected to sit down and look at the documents and then see how to negotiate better on how it will benefit their people.

Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade, Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor