CDC-Nigeria is part of the President’s Malaria Initiative and provides technical assistance to help reduce the burden of Malaria in Nigeria. CDC provides assistance with Malaria surveillance, evaluation of programs, and operations research to assess what is working. This information is used to modify programs and improve Nigeria’s Malaria strategy.
Field Epidemiology Laboratory and Training Program
FELTP trains field public health laboratory, epidemiology, and veterinary epidemiology residents to work in leadership positions in the Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources. This two-year program helps improve public health systems within the country by increasing knowledge and skills in field epidemiology and laboratory science and building a cadre of skilled and well-trained health professionals in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s program is the first applied epidemiology training program of its kind to offer a field veterinary epidemiology track. N FELTP introduced the Veterinary track to address the increasing threat of zoonotic and epizootic diseases in Nigeria. After residents have completed all requirements of the program, they receive the Master of Public Health degree in Field Epidemiology, Veterinary Epidemiology, or Laboratory Epidemiology and Management through their affiliated universities.
Health Systems Strengthening
A robust public health infrastructure is critical to prepare Nigeria for public health emergencies such as infectious and noninfectious disease outbreaks. Since 2004, the CDC-Nigeria Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) program has worked to build local capacity to respond to HIV/AIDS and other diseases. The overarching goals of CDC-Nigeria’s HSS program are to instill ownership, build local capacity, and sustain the delivery of quality healthcare services to citizens of Nigeria in an integrated and comprehensive manner.
CDC-Nigeria worked with the Government of Nigeria and other partners in the establishment and operation of the Nigeria Centers for Disease Control and the National Public Health Reference Laboratory for efficient disease detection and surveillance. It is also working with partners to institutionalize in-service training programs toward establishing national centers of excellence for training in various areas of HIV/AIDS care and management.
CDC partnered with Population Services International in Nigeria to launch WaterGuard, a water treatment product. CDC staff conducted an evaluation of the impact of existing safe water treatment and storage programs.
CDC-Nigeria’s Global Immunization Division provides ongoing technical support to strengthen Nigeria’s routine immunization program and to help the country meet national immunization goals and international resolutions to eradicate polio and reduce measles mortality. The Global Immunization program and national counterparts developed an innovative advocacy and communication strategy (the “Gezawa Initiative”) to engage traditional Muslim leadership in polio eradication activities more fully and conduct social mobilization activities in high-risk communities in Northern Nigeria.
In July 2012, CDC and the Nigerian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (N-FELTP) collaborated to establish the National Stop Transmission of Polio (NSTOP) program. Highly trained NSTOP staff fills gaps in polio eradication program management in the highest risk local government areas in northern Nigeria.
As a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Global Immunization Division supports the Nigerian government in its efforts to kick polio out of Nigeria.
CDC developed and implemented a two-tiered dashboard system that tracks vaccination campaign performance in all high-risk states. The dashboard has been an important source of data for planning and improving the quality of campaigns. CDC and NSTOP also train and mentor state and local government area Immunization Officers to improve their data reporting and analysis capacity.
CDC and NSTOP are working to strengthen the routine immunization system in 13 northern states. The work CDC carries out includes improving cold chain storage, vaccine management, service delivery, and data management. CDC and NSTOP have developed applied training modules on routine immunizations for LGA immunization officers and other partner staff.
In 2007, CDC helped to establish a National Influenza Reference Laboratory and provided technical support, supplies, and reagents to the laboratory. In 2009, the U.S. Government officially handed over the fully functional National Influenza Reference Laboratory to the Government of Nigeria. CDC has also helped establish the first ever National Influenza Sentinel Surveillance System, which monitors influenza occurrence in clinics and hospitals and detects new influenza strains with pandemic potential. CDC trains doctors, nurses, pharmacists, epidemiologists, and laboratorians to better manage influenza.
The Global Health Security Agenda
The Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) is a unifying framework to improve the global response to disease outbreaks and close gaps in surveillance and intervention. Focused on health systems broadly as opposed to disease-specific initiatives, GHSA builds upon existing programs and policies to improve health and spur progress toward full implementation of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR). While Nigeria has not formally signed on to GHSA, the country did agree to meet its obligations under the IHR in 2005. CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) works with the Government of Nigeria and other partners to achieve these requirements by focusing on workforce development, emergency response, surveillance, laboratory, and border health/point of entry interventions.
Now in its second year of GHSA implementation in Nigeria, CDC’s work with two of its implementing partners the University of Maryland-Baltimore and Pro-Health International- has seen many accomplishments in the areas of surveillance and border health issues. CDC’s support also includes targeted technical assistance; oversight on workforce development through the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, which builds capacity among the Nigerian public health workforce. Additionally, there are efforts to harmonize Nigeria’s various national and state Emergency Operations Centers; and exploring ways to strengthen existing laboratory networks by partnering with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control as well as other laboratory partners.