Nigeria’s biosafety agency, others to collaborate in eliminating biorisk

Nigeria’s biosafety agency, others to collaborate in eliminating biorisk

By Abigael Joshua, Abuja.

 

The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) on Monday says it will collaborate with other stakeholders to eliminate harmful biological agents, also known as biorisk, in the environment.

 

The Director-General of NBMA, Dr Rufus Ebegba, said this during a two-day capacity building workshop organised for officers of the agency in Abuja.

 

The workshop is organised in collaboration with Health Security Partners and Biosecurity Engagement Programme.

 

Ebegba said that that biorisk referred to organisms which could not be seen through the human eyes and were harmful.

 

He also said that the workshop was to educate research institutions on organisms which could be harmful and dangerous to human health.

 

“National Biosafety Management Agency will work with all stakeholders that have related mandates to ensure biosecurity in the country.

 

“The process is just starting, we will be convening a national conference very soon on how to implement the National Biosecurity Policy,” Ebegba said.

 

Minster of State for Health Joseph Ekumankama commended NBMA for the workshop to strengthen the capacity of its officers.

 

Ekumankama, who was represented by a director in the ministry, Dr Oyinye Nwankwor, said that the National Biosecurity Policy was aimed at institutionalising a coordinated and functional biosecurity system in the country.

 

He said that the policy would minimise the risk of bio-threats to human health, biodiversity and the environment.

 

The minister assured that his ministry and relevant parastatals under the ministry would be actively involved in the implementation of the policy, whose overall aim was to attain a bio-secured nation.

 

Dr Kinsley Odiabara, Director, Medical Laboratory Services, in the ministry, said that the concept of biosafety and biosecurity needed to be well-understood to avoid any kind of confusion.

 

“Biosafety tells you what to do, so that you can avoid exposure to pathogens anywhere you find yourself — not to infect yourself and others.

 

“Biosecurity is much more dangerous and complicated; it tells you that if you do not manage your biological agents and materials that contain biological agents, you may run into trouble,” he said.

 

Dr Prasid Kuduvalli, Director of Scientific Programmes, Health Security Partners, promised to strengthen its partnership with NBMA to support the cause of biosafety in Nigeria.

 

Kuduvalli said that Health Security Partners had worked with over 30 countries to prevent and protect against biological threats.

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