By Cecilia Ologunagba
The Federal Ministry of Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), to boost Nigeria’s health care delivery.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement in a statement signed by the Director, Information, Media and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Olujimi Oyetomi, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ehanire said the agreement came at a time when Nigeria and the world were experiencing the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister named the areas of interest to Nigeria in the cooperation between the two countries as public health and primary health care.
“It is even more urgent now at the stage of the community transmission of COVID-19, when the health systems of all the countries are being put to test.
“We have seen strong and more resilient health systems around the world collapsing with the outbreak of the disease.
“It is a time when all countries need to revisit their health system, both the public health and the individual person’s health.”
Ehanire told his guests that Nigeria had done well to ensure that its health system did not collapse.
“COVID-19 is a virus that nobody knows its nature well. The future is not clear hence there is need for knowledge sharing, where the world and all humanity work together to defend their citizens.
“It is against this background that we are pleased to be a part of this agreement.
“We know that our country is not among the richest and not among the most technologically developed.
“We are inclined to share your experiences, your level of development which we see as valuable. Therefore, your excellency, we take this agreement to be sacrosanct.’’
In a speech, the Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, expressed his wish to have DPRK’s model of centre of disease control replicated in Nigeria.
“We are a large population but one model we’ve been looking up to for many years is the Korea Centre for Disease Control.
“We have looked up to the Korea Model Institute, a model government agency that we will like to emulate in many ways.
“We have seen how you incorporated the response of all infectious diseases; safety from chronic diseases into one strategic public health agency responsible for the delivery of this critical functions to the people of Korea,’’ he said.
The highlight of the occasion was the signing of the MoU on health by the chief representatives of both countries, supervised by the director, legal services of the Federal Ministry of health.
The DPRK team was led by the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Jon Tong Chol.