The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has said that his administration will continue to give priority to the health and education sectors in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said this when he declared open, the ongoing 7th African Conference on One Health and Biosecurity.
The three day event with the theme: Universal Approach to Addressing Biosecurity Threats: Genomic Intelligence and Vaccines is being put together by the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium (GET) with the support of it’s partners.
According to Sanwo-Olu, the state government has continued to invest in human and materials to address the biosecurity threats to Lagos State and Nigeria.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu emphasized that health and education has continued to receive priority in the scheme of things in the life of his administration, hence the gradual improvement in the allocation in the state budget of the two areas of public concern.
To underscore that his administration means business, the Governor informed that his administration was already looking beyond Covid-19 in the interest of the health and safety of Lagosians, hence it is building the biggest mental health facility in Nigeria. He also announced that Lagos State government was also building the biggest children hospital in sub Saharan Africa.
Sanwo-Olu assured that his administration will not leave anything to chance in it’s resolve to make Lagos safe and healthy for all.
While declaring the conference open, Sanwo-Olu acknowledged that with the support of partners, Lagos State government has been able to build a level 2 and 3 biosecurity laboratory. He identified the biosecurity threat to Lagos State as a result of it having the biggest land, sea and air borders.
He also spoke of how the state was able to take the lead and exhibit leadership in the fight against coronavirus by streamlining bureaucracy to respond swiftly to the coronavirus pandemic threat.
In his opening remarks, the chief host and honourable commissioner of health, Prof. Akin Abayomi welcomed all to the 7th edition of the conference this year which started in 2014 in response to the Ebola outbreak.
According to him, a health threat anywhere is a health threat everywhere. He spoke on how Lagos State government has taken the lead in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic due to the foresight and sterling leadership of the incident commander and Governor of the state who seemed to have had an inkling of the likely health challenges to confront the citizenry with the THEMES agenda of his administration which focused on health and environment.
He predicted that the likelihood of a fourth wave is apparent in Lagos because of the huge population and due to the forthcoming festivities period of celebration, but assured of the state readiness to combat it just as he solicited the support and cooperation of Lagosians to defeat coronavirus.
Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer, Global EMERGING Pathogens Treatment Consortium, Dr, Dotun Bobadoye said that this conference will also set the state for discussion on a contentious aspect of genomics regarding ethical, legal and social issues that must be addressed for Africa to move towards an era of genomic intelligence fully.
He noted that within the last years, some African countries have experience devastating effects of emerging infectious disease, like Ebola, Lassa fever, cholera, Marburg virus, yellow fever, Chikungunya, but over the two years, the world battle with the COVID19 pandemic.
“I hope that the beneficial application of genomics in the fight against the pandemic will inspire and inform a paradigm shift on the continent and encourage African governments to invest in genomic and vaccine technology and infrastructure”, he said.
After the opening ceremony, experts took turns to present papers on various aspect of biosecurity and biosafety threats to Africa
The event is being attended by participants from the academia, security agencies, research institutions development partners, United Nations agency (UNODA), African countries, experts from the federal and Lagos State ministries of health and it’s agencies, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), civil society organizations, the media, etc.
In attendance at the opening ceremony were; the Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Folashade Jaji, Prof Akin Abayomi the Honourable Commissioner of Health and his information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, Rear Admiral Yusuf who represented Vice Admiral A. Z. Gambo the Chief of Naval staff (CNS) Dr. Faisal Shuaib the executive director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr. Ibrahim Mustapha the Permanent Secretary of the (NPHCDA), Dr. Yewande Oshodi represented the Chief Medical Director of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Oliver Smith of US Consulate, CSP Keshinro the Nigeria police force chief pathologist who represented the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Dr. Rufus Epegba of the Federal ministry of environment, representatives of the Army, Navy, Nigeria custom service, environmental experts, civil society organizations leaders, among others.