Nigeria witnessing devastating effect of climate change

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From Fred Ezeh, AbujaThe World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed that Nigeria is currently witnessing the devastating effect of climate change, which has come in the form of flooding and other unusual natural disasters.The organisation has suggested that Nigeria should begin early preparation for health and other challenges that might come soon, which may be more devastating than the COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the world in 2020.WHO Representative in Nigeria Walter Kazadi Mulombo, who gave the predictions on Thursday at the opening ceremony for Emergency Preparedness & Response Capacity Building, Learning and Training for African Volunteers Corps (AVoHC) on Strengthening and Utilising Response Groups for Emergencies (SURGE) team, assured all stakeholders that WHO is ready to support, logistics and otherwise, in event of an unexpected public health emergency.Mulombo maintained that preparation, notably, early detection, and early execution of a smooth and seamless response was critical to saving more lives, noting that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were massive on all countries of the world irrespective of economic size.“The devastating impact of climate change is being witnessed in Nigeria in form of flooding. It’s an indication that there was a need for diversification of skills to ensure quick response to any public health emergency within 24 to 48 hours,” he said.“We are in an era where we face an uncertain future. We have known epidemic-prone diseases, and we have the unknown. The pandemic we are still waiting for is not the influenza pandemic. Somewhere on our way came the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, but we need to remember that the big pandemic is still to come and we need to prepare to respond adequately. The crises we are facing are multi-dimensional.“Preparation and early rapid execution of outbreak response strategies are critical in detecting, containing, and mitigating the spread of potentially dangerous infectious diseases“Enhancing Global Health Security (GHS) requires holistic and coordinated sustained national and sub-national actions to ensure a faster and more equitable response“In Nigeria, emergencies, disasters, and other crisis increase in number and magnitude daily, affecting thousands of vulnerable and unprotected people. The situation is not promising to improve soon.“The ability to deliver an early and effective response requires government and institutions to be prepared, collaboratively, for new outbreaks. They must be ready to respond nationally, sub-nationally and locally before an attack becomes an epidemic or pandemicMinister of State for Health Ekumankama Nkama noted in his remarks that Nigeria was working with WHO towards ensuring another pandemic does not take the country by surprise.“Nobody knows what will happen if there’s a pandemic that will be worse than the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we need to be prepared, be ready to respond effectively when we have such crisis or emergencies and so we’re working with the WHO to make sure that we train the trainers ready to deploy in case of such situations,” he said.



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