President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the bill for the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.

He recounted the number of disease outbreaks in the country in 2017, such as Meningitis, Yellow Fever, Monkey Pox and Lassa Fever; describing them as alarming.

Mr. Buhari said this on Tuesday while presenting the 2018 Appropriation Bill to lawmakers. He read the budget speech before the joint session of the National Assembly.

The president also commended the federal and state ministries of health, the World Health Organisation, the Global Fund and UNICEF for their efforts and timely responses to contain outbreaks in the country.

“This collaboration was a key factor in the low mortality rates experienced. To further improve our response to such outbreaks, we are working to upgrade our Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System. This will further enhance the efficiency of our diagnostic and clinical management processes”, he said.

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The president noted that a speedy passage of the NCDC bill will consolidate on the successes recorded in stemming the tide of outbreaks in the country.

The NCDC was established in 2011 in response to the challenges of public health emergencies and to enhance Nigeria’s preparedness and response to epidemics through prevention, detection, and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Its core mandate is to detect, investigate, prevent and control diseases of national and international public health importance.

However, a formal bill for an Act establishing the NCDC is yet to be passed to law.

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