By Henrietta Lucy Attah
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has said that Public Health threat or emergency is linked to National security as globalization has made outbreak or threats of diseases easy to spread across national borders.
A statement issued yesterday by Boade Akinola, Director, Media and Public Relations in the ministry, said the Minister made this known while speaking as a Guest lecturer at the National Institute of Security Studies, Usuma Dam, Abuja, recently.
Speaking on the topic: Globalization of Public Health Implication for National Security, Adewole said that global health, according to Institute of Medicine is ‘’ health problems, issues and concerns that transcend national boundaries, may be influenced by circumstances or experiences in other countries and are best addressed by cooperative actions and solutions’’
He explained that Public Health threats were many and diverse, multiplying and moving faster – going beyond borders, presenting new challenges and therefore required urgent collaborative response.
The Minister informed that Public Health emergencies could affect the psychological well-being of a population, affect social activities and social unrest e.g. the 2017 Monkeypox outbreak and vaccination rumor which affected educational activities in some parts of the country and the orphans created by the increasing mortality of HIV/AIDS which could lead to youths involvement in crime.
In this light, Adewole stressed that Public Health disasters, if not properly managed could expose the country to increased level of attacks – small scale (petty stealing) to large scale (terrorism), challenge a country’s security by exerting enormous pressure on the country’s economy and severely affect national defense.
Harping on the Public Health – National Security linkage, the Minister maintained that Infectious diseases and Public Health were National Security issues as well as a worldwide problem; therefore, every country such as Nigeria must be at alert.
He warned that no blood sample should be allowed to be taken out of the country under any guise and all security agencies needed to be interested in Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), share intelligence amongst themselves; give attention to capacity building and collaborate with each other.
Adewole further called for adequate strengthening of public health preparedness, planning and timely response as they were ultimate goals to minimize global public health threats. He also appealed for appropriate funding which he said remained the panacea for a safe country adding that Federal Ministry of Health and her agencies were ready to be partners in progress.
In her remarks, the Director, Medical services, Institute of Security Studies (ISS), National headquarters, Dr. Ann Okorafor, appreciated the Minister for his unflinching support to the Institute and making out time to lecture the 57 participants of Intelligent Management course, syndicate two, drawn from 53 strategic agencies in the country.