The Federal Government has directed chief executives of its tertiary hospitals to prepare and be proactive in responding to outbreak of diseases in the country.
The directive came amid efforts to battle the outbreak of Cerebrospinal Meningitis in five states in the North-East.
The government also urged the public to notify the Federal Ministry of Health on any disease outbreak so as to enable the ministry to deploy response teams immediately and checkmate the spread of the disease.
A statement issued in Abuja on Friday by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Health, Boade Akinola, said the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, issued the directive during a meeting with the heads of the Federal Government’s tertiary health institutions.
He said the meeting was convened to chart a way forward in case of any disease outbreak in the country.
Adewole said, “I should start with global health security. As we might be aware, we have been dealing with series of outbreaks over the last one year. We started with Lassa fever, we moved on to cholera, there were pockets of measles and now we are dealing with meningitis.
“The outbreak of meningitis in Zamfara State actually started late November 2016, but we did not know until February, which is unfortunate. If we got to know early, we would have deployed the vaccines available to us, created awareness and taken charge of the situation early enough. But since we did not know, we lost valuable time to respond to the outbreak.”
Speaking further on the strategies of the federal hospitals to support the primary and secondary health care centres in the states, the minister urged all the Federal Government tertiary hospitals to adopt secondary and primary health facilities, equip them and ensure they work well.
According to him, during emergencies, medical personnel in federal hospitals must support the state, primary and general hospitals.
“We cannot pretend that what is happening outside our tertiary health centres do not concern us, and this is one reason why we must interact with primary and secondary health facilities in the states; otherwise, we would spend valuable time treating diarrhoea and vomit instead of looking after the complex cases that we ought to do,” he said.