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UN Chief of Staff Commends Nigeria’s Integrated Health Delivery Services

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ABUJA – The Chief of Staff to the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Earle Courtenay Rattray, expressed his admiration for Nigeria’s remarkable integrated health delivery services during his visit to the country. Mr. Rattray praised the commitment of UN staff and their contribution to sustainable development and health security. The Chief of Staff made these remarks while attending the inauguration ceremony of Nigeria’s new President, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on May 29, 2023,.

During his visit, Mr. Rattray conducted field visits within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), engaging with government officials, stakeholders, and frontline health workers to witness the impact of interventions by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and other UN agencies in supporting the Government. These investments aim to strengthen global health security and pandemic preparedness.

“The officials and people I have interacted with at the facilities appreciate the expertise shared by WHO through capacity building and on-the-job training,” Mr. Rattray remarked after his tour.

One of the sites Mr. Rattray visited was the Wupa sewage treatment plant, where he gained valuable insights into WHO’s funding and technical assistance in capacity building, integrated disease surveillance, outbreak response, and the delivery of integrated health services.

“WHO tremendously contributes to disease surveillance by providing transport logistics, technical and normative guidance, capacity building and training of sample collectors, mentorship, and supportive supervision,” explained Dr. Nwachukwu Theresa, the FCT Epidemiologist.

At the Wupa site, Mr. Rattray witnessed firsthand the environmental surveillance efforts aimed at monitoring poliovirus transmission in human populations through the examination of wastewater/sewage supposedly contaminated by human feces. The Wupa sewage treatment plant, located in the Idu settlement of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, is one of three environmental sample sites in the FCT.

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“I am impressed by the level of disease surveillance. The goal is zero tolerance against polio and ensuring no child is affected by the disease,” Mr. Rattray emphasized.

Mr. Abubakar Lapai, the plant manager, provided a detailed explanation of the operations and functionality of the plant, highlighting the adherence to WHO standards in sewage collection for testing, laboratory processes, and chambers for water pre-treatment.

Similarly, at the Family Health Clinic, Mr. Rattray was given a comprehensive tour of various health service delivery units. These units encompassed registry, triage, non-communicable disease screening, maternal and child health, community management of malnutrition, cold chain, COVID-19 vaccination, routine immunization, health facility surveillance, and community audio-visual acute flaccid paralysis detection and reporting (AVADAR).

“I am impressed by the level of disease surveillance. The goal is zero tolerance against polio and ensuring no child is affected by the disease,” Mr. Rattray reiterated after the tour.

The UN Chief of Staff acknowledged the efforts made by the Government in collaboration with the UN in the pursuit of comprehensive health services.

“The UN is assisting the Government of Nigeria with funding and providing expertise across the UN family,” Mr. Rattray stated. “The officials and people I have interacted with at the facilities appreciate the expertise shared by WHO through capacity building and on-the-job training.”

Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Representative and Head of Mission, highlighted the purpose of the field visits, stating, “The field visits by the COS were to give him firsthand experience of activities on the field which will generate high-level advocacy towards accelerating health using digital technology innovation and lessons learned during COVID-19 and polio eradication efforts to build on expertise towards the last mile, seen in the soon-to-be-endorsed pandemic treaty.”

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The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was honored with the second runner-up position among the North Central States in the Leadership Challenge award for its remarkable improvements in primary healthcare services. This achievement was a collaborative effort of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dangote Foundation, UNICEF, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.

Mr. Rattray’s visit highlights the recognition of Nigeria’s commendable efforts in integrated health delivery services and underscores the importance of continued collaboration between the United Nations and the Government to strengthen health systems and promote the well-being of the country’s citizens.

 

 

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