NGO advocates strong political will for epidemic preparedness in Lagos

A Health Communication and Advocacy Organisation, Nigeria Health Watch, has urged consistent political will to strengthen the health system capacity for epidemic preparedness and response in Lagos State. Mr Ibukun Oguntola, Programme Manager, Prevent Epidemics Project of the Nigeria Health Watch, said this at a Media Advocacy Training for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Friday in Lagos. Oguntola appealed to the Lagos state government to create a strong multi sectoral plan to address identified gaps in the health security infrastructure of the state. He advocated for promotion of health security related activities, noting that these should be reflected in the amount allocated to epidemic preparedness and response strengthening in Lagos. Oguntola noted that the training was to equip CSOs in Lagos with the necessary skills to effectively utilise media platforms for advocacy purposes. 'CSOs play a critical role in driving positive change, influencing policies, and addressing various issues within commu nities. 'However, achieving their advocacy objectives and creating a lasting impact largely depends on their ability to effectively communicate and amplify their messages. 'In the context of Epidemic Preparedness and Response (EPR), the media plays a significant role in amplifying advocacy messages and gaining support from both public and policymakers on the need for increased and sustained funding for EPR. 'However, many CSOs may not have the necessary skills to engage with the media, leveraging their reach to effectively amplify their messages,' he said. He expressed optimism that the training had equipped participants with skills, resources and insights to conduct strong and effective media advocacy strategies for public health issues. Similarly, Rev. Bola Nuga, Resource Mobilisation Coordinator, Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP), lauded the organiser of the programme. He said the programme had strengthened participants' knowledge on leveraging media advocacy to strengthen public health programmes. Nuga noted that over the years, Nigeria, and indeed Lagos state had recorded several disease outbreaks - COVID-19, Lassa fever, Cholera, Yellow fever, among others. He called for improved funding and sustained interventions for epidemic preparedness and response programmes in the state. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by Nigeria Health Watch and Media Action for Public Health Initiative. Source: News Agency of Nigeria