The Lagos State Government said it is developing strategies to sanitise the environment from biosecurity threats through employing the One Health Paradigm to achieve the Health and Environment mandate of the present administration’s THEMES agenda.
The Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, disclosed this on Thursday at a training workshop on One Health Paradigm organised for stakeholders drawn from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
Abayomi stated that the plan is to create a synergy amongst relevant MDAs, particularly Health, Environment and Agriculture, to protect man and the environment from biosecurity threats.
In his presentation, titled: “Loss of Biodiversity: A Biosecurity Concern,” the Commissioner averred that the interconnectivity between man, animals and their shared environment calls for serious concern and response from government and relevant stakeholders in order to address emerging health and environmental issues in other to prevent and effectively manage emerging infectious diseases which is out to ravage mankind.
He explained that the present administration deliberately put Health and Environment together in the second pillar of the THEMES agenda in reconnection of the interconnection between both and in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendation.
Abayomi added that the health of man is highly dependent on the health of the environment he lives in, stressing that a healthy environment will produce a healthy population.
He said it was the ultimate goal of any responsible government.
He said: “Biosecurity road map is a very complex road map and essentially, it is hinged on what we call the One Health Paradigm. What we are trying to do is to ensure that we are not operating in silos and this is why the Ministry of Health is working with its sister agencies like Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Physical planning, Justice to define a strategy moving forward and that strategy is based on the concept that we are only as healthy as our environment.”
The Commissioner explained further that the One Health Paradigm requires all agencies to come together to create a healthy environment noting that this synergy is not isolated to Lagos or Nigeria alone.
He said: “The One Health Paradigm involves all agencies to come together to create a healthy environment. It is not isolated to Lagos or Nigeria, it is a global phenomenon and we must promote it globally. We are trying to adopt the World Health Organisation and the United Nations convention on preservation of biodiversity on the protection of the environment.”
Abayomi noted that the One Health Paradigm training was borne out of the need to upscale the State Government’s preparedness against future biosecurity threats especially in light of the lessons learnt from the recent COVID 19 pandemic.
He noted that Lagos was working towards the prevention of biological threats as against cure and would rather spend more time and resources in the prevention of a pandemic than manage it.
The Commissioner urged all agencies to work together in achieving a safe environment as it is the Ministry of Health that deals with the consequences of the inability to protect and keep the environment healthy.
He said: “We do not want to witness a pandemic, we will rather spend our time and resources in preventing it. The Ministry of Health deals with the consequences of biosecurity threats and this is why we need to work across agencies to protect the State from biological shock. We should be dealing with prevention instead of the after effect.”