LASG strengthens emergency preparedness against infectious diseases

THE Lagos State Government (LASG) says it has strengthened its emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases through the implementation of policies on bio-security and bio-banking.

The state Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said this on Sunday in Lagos.

He said that the Ministries of Health and Justice were working assiduously to review the relevant state laws pertaining to the policy.

He said that this was in preparation for the development of bio-security and biotechnology policies along with the THEMES agenda of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu-led administration.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that bio-security procedures are designed to protect the population against harmful biological or biochemical substances.

Bio-banking refers to the process by which samples of bodily fluid or tissue are collected for research use to improve understanding of health and diseases.

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Abayomi said that the state had inaugurated a 12-member governing council which comprised of experts and specialists from various disciplines.

He said that these include: bio-banking, bio-security, molecular biology, public health, ethics, security, law, and anthropology.

The commissioner said that the council would provide governance and regulatory frameworks that would ensure a bio-secure environment in the state.

He added that biological samples and data emanating from the state would be collected, stored and accessed in ways that they would be beneficial to the state.

The commissioner said that the council would ensure that knowledge gained from the samples and data accessed would be shared to increase the state’s medical-biological knowledge economy and improve emergency preparedness.

“The council shall pay attention and exercise oversight functions on issues of international treaties that protect society from biological threats and the subject matter of changing ethical paradigms,” he said.

The commissioner said that the state had instituted the one health paradigm to be part of the national and global health security networks and the global knowledge economy.

He stressed that the advent of the Ebola virus disease had opened a new chapter, which revolves around bio-economy and preparedness for emergencies.

“Lagos State is rapidly expanding into a megacity that is experiencing multiple biosecurity threats which require proactive strategic mitigation and countermeasures,’’ he said.

Abayomi said that the council would look at the spectrum of activities from the state’s vulnerability, institutions, resilience, the capacity to respond, samples, data and ability to derive knowledge from the indigenous environment and knowledge systems.

The commissioner added that members of the council would undergo an intense modular training and orientation phase for one year to prepare them adequately for the task ahead.

He said that the members of the governing council are; Prof. Akin Abayomi, the State Commissioner for Health; Dr Titilayo Goncalves, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health; Prof. Akin Osibogun, consultant community engagement and environmental impact assessor.

According to him, others include Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, Consultant clinical microbiologist; Prof Adebayo Onajole, a data consultant; and Dr Babajide Martins, representative of the Ministry of Justice.

NAN

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