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Ikeazor: Biosecurity policy will prevent release of pathogens that threaten environment

Ikeazor: Biosecurity policy will prevent release of pathogens that threaten environment
February 09
08:30 2022

Sharon Ikeazor, minister of state for environment, says the national biosecurity policy will help prevent the release of pathogens and toxins that are harmful to health and the environment. 

Ikeazor said this at the unveiling and public presentation of the national biosecurity policy and action plan, in Abuja on Tuesday.

She said the policy will also help control and prevent naturally occurring infectious diseases, adding that the threat of climate change necessitated the need for biosecurity in recent times. 

“It focuses on preventing the loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of pathogens, toxins, and other related assets against humans, animals, plants and the environment. It also focuses on putting measures in place to mitigate naturally occurring and emerging infectious diseases,” she said. 

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“Biosecurity is more important today than ever before due to the increasing threats of climate change which is altering the range, habitats and spreads of pests and diseases.

“It is estimated that zoonotic infections, transmitted from animal hosts to humans, account for approximately 60 percent of total infectious diseases in humans, and 75 percent of all new and emerging infectious diseases.”

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She added that addressing environmental destruction and implementing the biosafety policy needs a collaborative approach so all hands must be on deck to ensure it achieves its mandate.  

She said the ministry will ensure adequate budgetary provisions are made available for implementing stakeholders to help them achieve their specific biosecurity roles.

“The threats posed by pathogens jumping from animals to humans as well as the destruction of the environment cannot be effectively addressed by one sector alone,’’ she added.

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“Therefore, all implementing ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are tasked to put all hands on deck to ensure that we effectively implement the policy.

Guests at the event

“We must also aggregate our efforts at managerial level in ensuring an improved budgeting and funding mechanism in achieving our strategic plans considering the fact that biosecurity is now a national priority.

“We at the ministry as focal point will, as much as we can, consistently advocate for adequate budgetary provisions for different implementing MDAs to help achieve their specific biosecurity roles in line with their mandates.”

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Rufus Ebegba, director-general of National Biosafety Management Agency, said the policy is fundamental to minimising biological threats to humans, adding that the agency will ensure that the policy is effectively implemented.

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This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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