Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday, September 9, called for increased collaboration between health professionals at the federal and state levels of government in order to adequately prepare for the next pandemic.
He spoke in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, during the Annual Scientific Conference and Workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), with the theme, “Medical Laboratory: Preparedness For The Next Pandemic”.
Jonathan appreciated medical laboratory scientists all over the nation for their sacrifices to rid the nation of diseases while endangering their own health, and lauded their dedication to keeping the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
The former president remarked that during his tenure as the nation’s number one man, he made concerted efforts to revitalize the health system by signing the National Health Act into law in 2014, noting that healthcare plays a large role in the prosperity of the nation.
READ ALSO : Bayelsa to host health summit
He said pandemics predate the coming of Christ, hence scientists in the nation should develop new methods for detecting microbes and develop kits for testing, adding that the commitment and dedication of all stakeholders are needed to overcome the pandemic.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri in his remarks said the health sector should be made the responsibility of the state and not the Federal Government to make it more effective.
The Governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrujakpor, said the pandemic has proven that states can handle health care responses more effectively, and can adequately prepare for the next pandemic.
He stated that more efforts will be put into upgrading the allowances of the scientists, saying the government is working hard to ensure that the eight referral hospitals in the state are completed by the end of the year.
In her remarks, the First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Gloria Diri charged medical laboratory scientists to be committed to knowledge and enlighten themselves such that they will be better equipped to handle any health crisis.
Delivering the keynote address, the Group Managing Director, Azikel Group of Companies, Dr. Eruani Azibapu Godbless, said medical laboratory scientists are the frontliners who come in contact with the virus and work to keep the nation safe.
He noted that the event is a celebration of their work and professionalism, while advising other bodies and the government to continuously work with them to achieve set goals.
Dr. Azibapu stressed that the scientists need access to equitable and new methods of testing, strenghtening of the medical laboratory capacity in the nation and the promotion of research which is critical to preparing for the next pandemic.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Douye Diri and other deserving individuals for their contribution to health care development in the nation.