Rivers gets Public Health Emergency Operations Laboratory

Tina Amanda

Rivers State Ministry of Health in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control has officially commissioned the state’s Public Health Emergency Operations Laboratory in order to handle epidemic and natural disasters’ outbreak.

Director-General Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, while Commissioning the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC), said for treatment Centres to be effective, it must be situated within the health facilities where there are health personnel.

According to him, the state public health emergency centre will serve as the hub for detection, prevention, response operation, research, review, efficient resource mobilization and timely reporting.

“The Public Health Emergency Operations Centre is a physical infrastructure within the department of public health where daily epidemic intelligence gathering and risk analysis of public health events for identification of potential threats aimed at informing adequate and timely response actions to ensure the protection of citizens will be carried out.

“I know Rivers State is a little bit more resourceful than some states in the country, but still we will support you in any way we are supporting other states.

“Before the end of the first quarter, we will procure one Hilux vehicle for every public health facility in Nigeria, definitely Rivers State will get it’s own. We will work with the state, our job is to support you to develop to your own capacity.

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“We have learnt a lot as we progressed over the years, for treatment Centres to be effective they have to be within the physical premises of an existing tertiary hospital. That is what we are doing in Gwagwalada Abuja, the same thing we want to find a solution to in Rivers State.

“We can not leave these centres idle at the middle of nowhere until we have an outbreak, so, it has to be in the premises where there are doctors, nurses and other health workers that can be mobilized when the needs arise. Everything has to be integrated within the routine services with a little bit of support during an outbreak”

On her part, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, Caroline Wali, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr Harry Agriye, said the emergency operation centre is the command centre for epidemics or natural disasters.

“The Emergency Operations Laboratory is a centre of excellence where the response to incidents are effectively and timely determined and coordinated.

“It has the goal of informing a rapid, efficient and evidence-based decision making on the arrangement of emerging public health threats”