Infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics pose a serious threat to public health and human existence in general. Global public health security has been defined by WHO as “the activities required, both proactive and reactive, to minimize the danger and impact of acute public health events that endanger people’s health across geographical regions and international boundaries.”
In view of this, the Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development. (LISDEL), Friday hosted Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and media stakeholders from Kano to a one-day workshop aimed at boosting domestic spending on epidemic preparedness and response. The workshop was part of LISDEL’s Prevent Epidemics (PE) Project being funded by Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI).
The meeting focused on developing an epidemic preparedness accountability framework to guide the tracking of policymakers, lawmakers’ and other stakeholders’ actions towards improved budgetary allocation and sustained financing for epidemic preparedness and response, as well as the outcomes of these actions.
Gafar Alawode, program director of the PE Project, said since epidemics could break out unexpectedly, the best way to tackle them was through a strong health security system adding that an improved budgetary allocation and sustained preparedness response to epidemics would result in a drastic reduction of mortality during epidemic outbreaks.
Alawode also emphasized the need for accountability in health security, as budgetary releases have been made in time past, with little or no effect. He noted that lack of transparency, accountability and controllability in health security had resulted in little progress. He therefore urged the media, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the narrative was changed for the better.
Similarly, Muhammad Shu’aib, Kano state coordinator for LISDEL, said the COVID-19 pandemic had taken the world by surprise and consequently taught the global community a lot of health security lessons. He reiterated the need for the Kano state government and all relevant stakeholders to ensure a sustained funding for health security in the state, by creating a budget line for health security as well as ensuring timely releases of the budgeted funds.
“We have been discussing with stakeholders in the executive arm of government, legislature, and not leaving out the media and CSOs, on sustained financing for epidemic preparedness and response,” he said. “The Kano state government did a great job by allocating 10% of the total budget to address COVID-19, which is quite commendable. We are calling on the government to enact policies that will help in developing an accountability framework towards the financing of health security in the state.”
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