The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and his team during the budget defence on Thursday at the National Assembly
The Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu has called on the federal government to fund the agency adequately in order to proactively respond to eventualities, which he said, “prevention was better than cure.”
He made the call on Thursday in Abuja in an interview with Journalists after his budget defence with the Senate Committee on Primary Healthcare and communicable diseases, adding that health security is not about when there is a problem, but the preparedness before it happens which must stable, sustainable and substantial; that is the way the country can protect it selves in the future.
Whether he was satisfied with the proposed allocation for the 2021 budget of the agency, Dr. Ihekweazu said: “This year’s budget, everybody understands that the country is passing through a very challenging period. We all have to be moderate in our expectations in terms of budgetary circle, more than ever before, Nigerians have come to understand why it’s important to invest in preparedness.
The entire economy of Nigeria came to standstill because of a single infectious disease and to prevent that from happening again in the future is to invest in the resources; in the human being; invest in equipment in our labs, EOCs, so that we can get on with our lives.
“We are not an agency that stops people from living; we are an agency that enables people to live their normal lives.”
While expressing confidence on the leadership of the senate, specifically the chairman and members of the senate committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Diseases, Dr Ihekweazu noted that the NCDC has had a very working relationship with the Senate Committee on Healthcare..
“I recall that it was this Committee that pushed the bill that eventually became an Act establishing us and previously we have been telling Nigerians on need to prepare for situations like we find ourselves since March, 2020.
“At that time, nobody really wanted to listen to us, but we are where we and the Committee really supported us by appropriating funds and releases. The Committee supported releases in our emergency mode in order to respond to this pandemic, what we are now asking is sustained financing for health security.
Earlier the Senate Committee chairman on Primary Healthcare and communicable diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi called on Nigerian Scientists to be proactive and work towards proffering solutions to the pandemic.