Saturday, September 18, 2021

Biosecurity: NBMA, WHO Partner On Policy Document

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are set to partner on the agency’s policy document of Nigerian biosecurity which sets out guidelines for regulating chemicals used both for farming and for biological purposes.

The NBMA director-general, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, made this known during the agency’s Second National Review Meeting of the Draft National Biosecurity Policy Action Plan, held in Abuja, saying the issue of security has been a global issue and the world must stand together to make sure that infectious organisms are properly contained.

“We recognise the role played by WHO that has supported this process right from the zero-draft presentation, first presentation and this current presentation for review.

“The role of WHO shows that they have the world at large as their territory. WHO has a major role to play to ensure that everyone on earth is secured? It is that role that is playing by supporting this process,” he said.

The NBMA boss stressed that the agency owed Nigeria the responsibility of ensuring the document would come out sound and meet international standard and our national world standard.

“The objective review of the draft National Biosecurity Policy is to bring in various stakeholders from all the major sectors, the agriculture, the health, the defence, the environment and the economy to have robust national biosecurity policy that will serve as a development for us to be sure the issue of harmful biological agency such as COVID-19, Ebola disease will be handled.

“NBMA is going to play the role of coordination. There are various ministries and departments playing the role of biosecurity, this will remain with those organisations,” he added.

In his remarks, the WHO Nigeria country representative, Dr. Walter Mulombo, said the organization would support the agency to complete the Nigerian biosecurity policy document. 

Represented by Dr. Philip Zoto, Mulombo expressed the hope that the document would be completed and presented to the Federal Executive Council before the end of the year, so it could become a working document for the country.

He said the policy document was one of the global best practices considering the fact that we are having a high rate of diseases transferred from animal to man which is affecting human beings.

“So, all over the world, people are coming together to ensure that under the One Health approach, people from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of agriculture come together under one health approach and ensure that human beings are protected from all the biothreat and biohazard.

“WHO will continue to support the Federal Government of Nigeria to ensure that the policy document is completed before the end of this year, and become a working document”, he noted.

Earlier in his remarks, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment who was represented by Mrs Bolanle Ajayi, said the journey of developing a policy document that would meet international best standard taking into consideration our national priorities had been worthwhile.

“It is an achievement credited to collective consciousness to safeguard our ecosystem from threats arising from intentional or unintentional use of valuable biological materials,” she added.

Oluchi Okorafor
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