At the Global Health Security Conference in Singapore, June 28 – July 1, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator’s (GHAI) Prevent Epidemics Nigeria Country Coordinator, Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan, participated in a session focused on Financing Epidemic Preparedness moderated by the World Bank. Dr. Alhassan’s presentation, entitled Budget Advocacy for Epidemic Preparedness ─ Lessons from Nigeria addressed the need for domestic investments and political will — a recurrent theme throughout the conference.
During his presentation, Dr. Alhassan illustrated the power of advocacy, including concrete examples of advocacy strategies and actions to increase public support and political will for epidemic preparedness funding in Nigeria, where with the help of advocacy the federal budget for the Nigeria Center for Disease Control has more than doubled since GHAI’s campaign began in 2018. Additionally, advocacy in two of Nigeria’s most populated states, Lagos and Kano, helped to establish new budget lines dedicated to epidemic preparedness and response.
Dr. Alhassan responded to questions of how to increase and sustain epidemic preparedness domestic investments and political will to break the cycle of complacency that leaves many nations vulnerable and unprepared for new or recurring disease outbreaks. He stressed that advocacy program costs are insignificant when compared to the potential achievements.
Dr. Alhassan also outlined GHAI’s four-step Budget Advocacy Framework for Increased and Sustained Epidemic Preparedness Investment which describes program activities to increase public awareness and political will through targeted advocacy that engages the civil society, government and the media. He noted that, “We need to be prepared… beyond the technical expertise, beyond the numbers, what is actually very much needed ─ the value add ─ is activating the political will. That is what we tried to do in Nigeria working with three wonderful NGOs, Nigeria Health Watch, the Legislative Initiative for Sustainable Development Goals (LISDEL) and BudgIT.”
Funding for the Prevent Epidemics program is provided by Resolve to Save Lives. Learn more about the Prevent Epidemics program here