26 July 2021 | Abuja – NCDC Hosts Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology – focuses on lessons from COVID-19 pandemic and other disease outbreaks
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in collaboration with partners is hosting the maiden edition of the Nigerian Conference of Applied and Field Epidemiology (NiCAFE) from the 26th – 28th of July 2021. The theme of this year’s NiCAFE conference is ‘Building back better: COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks.
In the last 17 months, countries across the world have been affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Nigeria, there have been other disease outbreaks in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, including Lassa fever and cholera. The NiCAFE conference seeks to bring together public health professionals, laboratory scientists, field epidemiologists, researchers, health care professionals and other members of the public to reflect on the response to these outbreaks, review gaps in epidemic preparedness and response and brainstorm innovative solutions to strengthen health security.
The 2021 NiCAFE conference begins as Nigeria reinvigorates the ongoing COVID-19 response given an increasing number of new cases. The conference which will be held virtually, will feature eight keynote/plenary speakers, over 170 oral and poster presentations across various themes. These include governance and leadership, epidemiology, surveillance and transmission dynamics, case management of infectious diseases. Other conference sub-themes include social sciences and community engagement, the role of agriculture and environment in disease transmission as well as health system strengthening for future pandemics.
The conference keynote lecture will be given by the Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan on Day 1, and the Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control, Dr. John Nkengasong on Day 2.
Plenary speakers at the conference include Professor Babatunde Salako, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR); Professor Akin Abayomi, Honourable Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Nigeria; Dr Akindele Adebiyi, Public Health Physician and Clinical Epidemiologist; Professor Folasade Ogunsola, Consultant Clinical Microbiology and Infection Control, and Chair of the Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN); Dr Richard Hatchett, Chief Executive Officer of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); and Ms. Zouera Youssoufou, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.
The NiCAFE conference which is set to be open by the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, will provide an opportunity for learning, connecting, and collaborating among public health professionals and enthusiasts in Nigeria. Ahead of the conference, nine pre-conference workshops focused on skill-building and experience sharing were organised.
Since 2008, the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have closely worked together to establish and strengthen the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Programme (NFELTP). The NFELTP which has been supported by the US Centers for Disease Control (US-CDC), African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) and more recently the World Bank, has significantly contributed to an increased number of field epidemiologists contributing to national health security.
The NCDC is grateful to the 2021 NiCAFE supporting partners including WHO, UNICEF, the World Bank funded Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Enhancement Project, US-CDC, AFENET, Public Health England, Resolve to Save Lives, Tony Blair Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The NiCAFE conference is an evolution of the previous NCDC/NFELTP conference. This year’s conference will focus on how Nigeria can build back better from the COVID-19 response to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to public health emergencies. The Bill for an Act to establish NCDC was signed into law in November 2018, by President Muhammadu Buhari. The mission for the NCDC is ‘To protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response, using a One Health approach, guided by research and led by skilled workforce’.
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Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control