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The Nigerian Ministry of Defence and U.S. Department of Defense Host Site Commanders’ and Site Team Leaders’ Meeting to Strengthen Military Healthcare
The 17-year military-to-military partnership between the Nigeria Ministry of Defence (NMOD) Health Implementation Programme (MODHIP) and the U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N) has greatly contributed to improving the health of troops, their families, and Nigerian citizens in general.
The Permanent Secretary, NMOD, Dr. Ibrahim Kamen made this known on Tuesday, April 12 during the MODHIP-USAMRD-A/N Site Commanders’ and Site Team Leaders’ Meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, which brought together senior health leadership from Defence Headquarters and 34 military medical facilities across the country.
The 2-day meeting is a biannual activity of the health partnership between the NMOD and the U.S. Department of Defense that brings leaders from military medical facilities across the country to discuss challenges, successes, and opportunities in delivering quality healthcare to their patients.
The Permanent Secretary and guest of honor, who was represented by Dr. Johnson Olajide commended the U.S. government for the robust support given to the Nigerian Defence Ministry through the partnership. He also acknowledged the accomplishments of the U.S.-Nigeria military collaboration, including the establishment of the state-of-the-art Defense Reference Laboratory (DRL) located in Mogadishu Cantonment, the only lab in West Africa accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.
He said the program has put great measures in place to control the scourge of HIV/AIDS for troops, their families, and those living within and around barrack communities, and should be sustained.
While speaking, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon revealed that the “U.S. government’s investment in health in Nigeria is its largest globally, providing funding and technical assistance to the COVID-19 pandemic; the triple burden of HIV, malaria, and TB; as well as the cross-cutting areas of reproductive health, immunization, and health security.”
She noted that, through the bilateral partnership between NMODHIP and USAMRD-A/N, health interventions have been able to reach a large number of Nigerians and record major milestones in HIV prevention, care and treatment; malaria diagnostics; and research on other infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Lassa fever, and monkeypox.
She further commended the efforts of NMOD leadership and staff, especially those of the Director-General (DG), MODHIP, Brigadier General N. A. E. Okeji (Rtd), which have brought about additional major accomplishments for the program in human capacity development, infrastructural and laboratory upgrades of several Nigerian military health facilities, data systems, and health policies.
On his part, the representative of the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties, FMOH said, health remains a priority in any thriving society and that the MODHIP/USAMRD-A/N partnership is a worthy cause that should be supported to serve this purpose. He further pledged the commitment of the ministry to the program.
Other special guests at the event included DG, MODHIP, Brigadier General N.A.E Okeji (Rtd); Acting U.S. Defense Attaché, LCDR Victoria Moore, Country Director, USAMRD-A/N, Dr. Laura Chittenden and senior leadership from the National AIDS, STI and Viral Hepatitis Control Programme and the National Malaria Elimination Programme.