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Site Commanders’ and Site Team Leaders’ Meeting

On Tuesday, September 20, the United States Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa/Nigeria (USAMRD-A/N), in partnership with the Nigerian Ministry of Defence (NMOD) Health Implementation Programme (MODHIP), hosted the Site Commanders’ and Site Leaders’ Meeting in Abuja.

The two-day biannual meeting is a key activity of the 17-year military-to-military health partnership between the Nigerian Ministry of Defence and USAMRD-A/N, and brings leaders from military health facilities across the country to discuss challenges, successes, and opportunities in delivering quality healthcare services.

U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, David Greene, making a speech at the meeting

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, David Greene, explained that the U.S. government had made tremendous investments that address health in Nigeria.  This includes the provision of funding and technical assistance for the COVID-19 pandemic; the triple burden of HIV, malaria, and TB; emerging infectious diseases such as monkeypox; and the cross-cutting areas of reproductive health, immunization, and health security.

He noted that bilateral efforts like the military-to-military partnership between NMOD and USAMRD-A/N make it possible for these investments to reach more individuals.

According to him, “There are no borders for diseases, and these joint efforts will strengthen the national response to the infectious diseases that affect soldiers and civilians alike in Nigeria. The partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Nigerian Ministry of Defence, and the collaboration of  U.S. and Nigerian government health agencies under the HIV National Alignment and the Global Health Security Agenda, have never been stronger. We wish to see these partnerships continue and advance to strengthen the health response of the Nigerian military, both within its own ranks and the communities it serves.”

WRAIR Commander, COL Chad Koenig, speaking at the event

As the senior representative of the U.S. Department of Defense, the Commander, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), COL Chad Koenig, noted that the partnership’s 17-year collaboration had recorded significant milestones in supporting the health of Nigerian and U.S. soldiers and civilians.

He further acknowledged the accomplishments of the NMOD/USAMRD-A/N partnership, including the completion of two Phase II Ebola vaccine trials, the first of their kind in the country at the time, and the current implementation of Lassa fever vaccine trials.

Permanent Secretary, NMOD, Dr. Ibrahim Kana

On his part, the Permanent Secretary, NMOD, Dr. Ibrahim Kana, commended the commitment and dedication of the NMOD/USAMRD-A/N partnership towards strengthening HIV prevention, care, and treatment.  He also lauded the interventional efforts being made in the prevention, detection, and control of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. He further assured the NMOD’s support for the program.

Since 2005, the bilateral partnership between MODHIP and USAMRD-A/N has provided critical healthcare and testing services to hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, and supported clinical studies that lead to improved healthcare, targeted outbreak response, and vaccines.