Three-Pillar Approach to Emergency Response: The Federal Government, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), has initiated a comprehensive three-pillar approach to effectively handle disease outbreaks and emergencies. The program, known as ‘Strengthening and Utilising Response Groups for Emergencies (Surge),’ was launched in Damaturu, Yobe State. Dr Godwin Ntadom, the Chief Consultant, Epidemiology at the Federal Ministry of Health, revealed that the approach focuses on preparedness, detection, and response to emergencies, aiming to enhance readiness and coordination at all levels.
Yobe State’s Unique Challenges: Yobe State, which is still recovering from the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency, faces a combination of human and natural disasters. In 2022, the state witnessed significant challenges, including 74 deaths and the submergence of 30,000 hectares of farmland due to floods. Additionally, 35,000 households were displaced despite prior warnings by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET). Lawan Gana, the Commissioner for Health in Yobe State, acknowledged the importance of the initiative in addressing the state’s ongoing issues, highlighting the need for more skilled human resources and improved logistics.
Nationwide Implementation and Capacity Building: The Surge initiative has been launched in all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. Its primary objective is to enhance the capacity of public health workers to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies. By providing training and resources, the program aims to equip healthcare professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to handle various types of emergencies and outbreaks in a timely manner.
The collaborative efforts between the Federal Government and the WHO through the Surge initiative reflect a proactive approach to strengthen emergency response capabilities in Nigeria. The implementation of this three-pillar approach is expected to contribute to better preparedness, early detection, and rapid response to future disease outbreaks and emergencies across the country.