Nigeria's Joint External Evaluation and National Action Plan for Health Security

Health Secur. 2020 Jan/Feb;18(1):16-20. doi: 10.1089/hs.2019.0051.


Nigeria is working to protect against and respond more effectively to disease outbreaks. Quick mobilization and control of the Ebola epidemic in 2014, at least 4 major domestic outbreaks each year, and significant progress toward polio eradication led to adoption of the World Health Organization's Global Health Security Joint External Evaluation (JEE) and National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS). The process required joint assessment and planning among many agencies, ministries, and sectors over the past 2 years. We carried out a JEE of 19 core programs in 2017 and launched a detailed NAPHS to improve prevention, detection, and response in December 2018, which required us to create topic-specific groups to document work to date and propose JEE scores. We then met with an international team for 5 days to review and revise scoring and recommendations, created a 5-year implementation plan, developed a management team to oversee implementation, drafted legislation to manage outbreaks, trained professionals at state and local levels of government, and set priorities among the many possible activities recommended. Management software and leadership skills were developed to monitor global health security programs. We learned to use international assistance strategically to strengthen planning and mentor national staff. Finally, a review of every major disease outbreak was used to prepare for the next challenge. Review and adaptation of this plan each year will be critical to ensure sustained momentum and progress. Many low-income countries are skilled at managing vertical disease control programs. Balancing and combining the 19 core activities of a country's public health system is a more demanding challenge.

Keywords: Infectious diseases; International coordination; Joint External Evaluation; Nigeria.

MeSH terms

  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Global Health*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation*
  • Nigeria
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Public Health / standards*
  • Security Measures*
  • World Health Organization*