By Ojoma Akor
The Federal Government has approved the deployment of surveillance officers as part of the medical mission to the 2017 Hajj pilgrimage.
A statement from the ministry yesterday said the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole made the disclosure during a meeting between officials of the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria.
The statement said the deployment was aimed at detecting and controlling any disease among the participants of the annual religious activity.
According to the minister, it was necessary for the country to prevent the importation of diseases as well as to avoid taking them out, in the face of global diseases outbreaks.
“We are looking at setting up a surveillance team to monitor diseases of public health concern, especially meningitis, cholera and measles,” he said.
The minister noted that agents trained by the Nigeria Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (NFELTP) would constitute the surveillance team, which will be embedded with the medical team.
The minister also announced that port health officials would be trained to better manage the demands of the pilgrims and to ensure ethical conduct in the discharge of their activities.
Executive Secretary of the Hajj Commission, Abba Yakubu said the agency was currently reforming the medical mission, adding that only local drug manufacturers would be patronized.
Head of the NAHCON Medical Mission, Dr. Ibrahim Kana said the mission was fully prepared and equipped to meet the pilgrims as the number of patients has recorded significant increase.
The Federal Government also agreed to setup dedicated communication channels including Telephone helpline and Social Media support to provide real-time assistance on any medical issue related to the Hajj, the statement said. ”(Daily Trust)