Publisher: DANIELS G.O
In a bid to ensure that Africa countries brace up to the challenges posed by the increase in emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity threats especially against the backdrop of the raging COVID19 pandemic, the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Health in partnership with a non-governmental organization, Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET), is set to hold the Sixth Annual African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity.
The Conference themed: “Strengthening Africa’s Resilience in Tackling Emerging Biosecurity Threats: Lessons from COVID19 Pandemic” is scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Lagos between Wednesday 25th and Friday 27th November, 2020.
Speaking on the rationale for the Conference, State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi explained that the need to continually emphasize the key importance of the African response in combating Emerging Infectious Diseases, advocating various treatment strategies and preparedness against future biosecurity threats informed the need for the Conference.
He added that responsive and responsible governments are expected to key into intellectual gatherings and conferences that will set agenda and discourse for solutions to myriads of health challenges confronting the human race.
“In Lagos State, we recognize the importance of strategic conferences like this to guide our health policies, plans and programme in order to protect our citizens and improve their health status. This was the reason why Lagos State hosted the second African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity in 2016 after the Ebola saga and the same reason we are hosting the sixth edition now even as we combat the COVID19 Pandemic”, the Commissioner said.
He noted that the leading role played by Lagos in the containment of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria coupled with proactive steps taken by the State against the raging COVID19 infectious disease makes it top choice for hosting the conference which is one of the biggest biosecurity conferences in Africa.
Abayomi noted that arrangements and modalities for the conference are being perfected in line with the theme, for a successful three day event that will attract over 400 global experts in various fields from Africa Continent and other countries of the World.
“This conference is being organized in partnership with GET Consortium to consolidate the gains of the first to fifth editions, review the status of implementation of the resolutions, chart the way forward for prevention and control of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases and bring the issue of Bio-security to the front burner”
“It is also intended to help develop the Africa continent’s own strategic intervention and response mechanisms to increasing outbreak of Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) and biological terrorism threats and help develop home-grown responses that will align with the evolving Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and the “One Health” paradigms envisioned by World Health Organization (WHO), International Animal Health (OIE) and Food and Agriculture organization (FAO), Abayomi stated.
He opined that resolutions at the Conference will help chart a positive course for strategic response against Biosecurity threats in Africa and by extension the world adding that the conference will afford Lagos the opportunity to review its strategic response against emerging infectious diseases.
Speaking in the same vein, the Chief Operating Officer of GET Consortium, Dr. Ayodotun Bobadoye explained that participants at the conference which will hold both virtually and physically will include policy makers, scientists, researchers, health care professionals, experts in infectious disease management, professionals from one health fields, development partners, community and opinion leaders amongst others.
He added that thematic areas of the conference will cover issues such as; Emerging Infectious Diseases as an accelerating phenomenon; Biosecurity and Bio-threat Reduction in Africa; Bio-banking Infrastructure; the need for Vaccine Strategy for Emerging Infectious Diseases in Africa; Climate Change and Biosecurity threat as well as the Cultural Anthropological, Social and Economic impact of Emerging Infectious Diseases (CASE).
Bobadoye noted that sub thematic topics such as; Post COVID19 recovery strategies; Infectious Disease Burden and trends across Africa; International Biosecurity Conventions; Role of African Government and Indigenous Vaccine Manufacturers in Vaccine Research and Development; Community Engagement in the fight against Emerging Infectious Diseases and Harnessing the Digital Revolution and Platforms to advance Biosecurity in Africa will also be deliberated on.
“GET in the past six years has been collaborating with various African organizations and governments to organize the annual conference on One Health and Biosecurity because it is critically important that Africa hosts its own indigenous strategic meetings to address and define response mechanisms to biological threats and increasing incidences of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“As Africans, we need to discuss our response strategies and preparedness for any disease outbreak learning from the ongoing COVID19 pandemics and the devastating lessons of the recent Ebola outbreak in West and Central Africa”, he said
Director, Public Affairs
22nd November, 2020