The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu has stated that Nigerian State Health Commissioners must play important roles in building healthcare capacity to fight further COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.

The NCDC boss disclosed this at the two-day quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum, on Friday, in Abuja. Themed “Building a stronger health sector in Nigeria through collaboration and strategic partnership”.

Represented by Dr. Priscilla Ibekwe, Director, Special Duties, NCDC, Ihekweazu stated that states must be prepared with expertise to improve health delivery as they have the resources.

“States have the resources, expertise and experience to strengthen the response to the coronavirus pandemic and other disease outbreaks in the country.

“We need stronger political commitment, leadership, and funding to fight against any outbreaks,” he said.

Dr Onoriode Ezire, Senior Health Specialist, International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group added that states must meet certain conditions for World Bank-funded health projects including a common agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Executive Governors on a set of transparent eligibility criteria.

“States will only be included in a project if the state’s participation would contribute to a meaningful improvement of that development indicator.

”Demonstrated commitment to reform by that state and demonstration of ongoing commitment throughout the life of a project.

“These include; meeting minimum performance criteria, adopting state legislation needed to establish an enabling environment for reform, and establishing the appropriate institutional framework to implement a reform program,” Ezire said.

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