By Mustapha Yauri
The World Health Organisation (WHO), in collaboration with other donor agencies, on Monday, donated 853 motorcycles to the Federal Government to strengthen diseases surveillance across the country.
Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, while presenting the motorcycles to the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, in Abuja, said that surveillance was critical to disease control, elimination and eradication.
According to him, surveillance enhances the monitoring and assessment of the impact of strategies and activities which are aimed at reducing the burden of diseases.
“Surveillance helps in tracking progress in disease control and serves as an early warning system for impending public health emergencies.
“This donation aims to build a highly sensitive and robust system to rapidly detect and respond to diseases of epidemic potential.
“ Diseases Surveillance and Notification Officers (DSNOs) play a major role in active surveillance at the field level through visits to communities and health facilities, as well as in linking with key community informants.
“They also facilitate timely investigation and response to outbreaks where they occur; this group of professionals deserve to be provided with the most appropriate logistics to enhance their mobility,’’ he said.
Alemu urged the minister to ensure that the motorcycles were properly maintained and put to good use.
In his remark, the minister commended the WHO country representative for the gesture and acknowledged that disease surveillance was critical for public health maintenance.
“When we are able to detect and respond appropriately, we will be able to curtail the spread of diseases and maintain good health across the nation.
“The 853 motorcycles that have been donated will certainly be used by DSNOs in appropriate manner.
“They will also be utilised effectively to help detect disease outbreaks.
“It is important for us to know and detect outbreaks promptly because when we do not know on time, diseases will spread.
“So, with good and early notification, we will investigate and make appropriate diagnosis and be able to respond accordingly,’’ Adewole said.