Abuja – The U.S. Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Program, in collaboration with the Nigerian Ministry of Defense Health Implementation Plan, on April 30, 2015 commissioned the flag-off of an Ebola Vaccine Study and Clinical Research Center.
U.S. Ambassador James F. Entwistle highlighted the 10 years of cooperation between the United States and Nigeria on health research efforts. He announced that partnership between the United States and Nigeria is working with pharmaceutical companies to prepare to test, license, and make available safe and effective interventions for the Ebola and HIV epidemics. Ambassador Entwistle said, “The partnership is working closely with many regulatory bodies, ethnic groups, federal entities, and community boards in Nigeria to ensure that any such studies will be safe and contribute to the international effort to combat this health threat.”
Minister of State for Defence, Colonel Austin Okwudiri Akobundu (rtd.), recalled the surprising outbreak of Ebola last year and that only small investments were available to produce a vaccine. “It was then recognized that the disease posed huge threat not only to the West African sub-region, but the whole world at large,” he said.
For 10 years, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerian Ministry of Defense have worked together to enhance HIV prevention, care, and treatment. This partnership has not only endured, it has grown into a model for the way the two militaries can work together effectively. The work that this partnership undertakes, fighting the spread of infectious diseases within the military forces and throughout Nigerian communities, is as important as it was 10 years ago.