The Cross River State Government in collaboration with Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) recently launched the Cross River State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) in Calabar, the State capital.
In the opening remarks the honorable commissioner for health, Dr. Inyang Asibong noted that The PHEOC is designed to meet all the needs of Public Health Emergencies for both human and zoonosis, adding that the geographical location of cross River State and the influx of refugees presents a critical need for the State to be well prepared and coordinated to respond to threats of infectious diseases. While the NCDC C.E.O Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu assured the State Government that officials from the State will receive an internship and mentoring program from well trained professionals to ensure hands on knowledge of the technicalities of the center, whilst also calling on the State government to continue to partner with the center to ensure its sustainability while making a donation of a vehicle to the center for ease of movement.
In his response the Ag Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu said ‘the Cross River State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre will among other things bridge the gap between the LGAs, State, National and International information surveillance system, accelerate response and interventions, complement the toll free smart phone device in facilities across the State and increase human capital development of lab scientists in the State, as well as increase the tourism and economic potentials of the State. He, however, added that the PHEOC is a brainchild of the NCDC and the Cross River State Ministry of Health, designed to further stem health emergencies in the country.’
The center which is the fourth operations center in the country and the first in the South-south region is a situation room designed to receive and disseminate real time information to and fro the NCDC Headquarters in Abuja to accelerate response and interventions during health emergencies or outbreaks.
Also present at the event was the Commissioner for information and Orientation; Barr. Rosemary Archibong, the DG of the State Primary Healthcare Development Agency; Dr. Betta Edu, the PermSec of the State Ministry of Health; Dr. Joseph Bassey, the DG of the Cross River State Health Insurance Agency and Special Adviser to the Governor on Insurance; Mr. Goddy Iyala, the State Epidemiologist; Mrs. Patience Uke, the UNICEF South-south Rep; Dr. Ibrahim Konte; Healthcare Financing and Governance (HFG) CRS Head of Office, Mr. Ibiam Azu; the State Program Officer of Fhi360; Dr. Henry Ayuk; the UNFPA Rep; Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu, and a host of other dignitaries, students and residents of the State.