…Inaugurates Governing Council on Bio-Security, Bio-Banking
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi has disclosed that the Ministry scaled up its emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases through the implementation of policies on bio-security and bio-banking.
Abayomi, who stated this while inaugurating a 12-member Governing Council on bio-banking and bio-security, stated that the Ministries of Health and Justice are also working very hard to review relevant State laws in preparation for the development of a bio-security and biotechnology policies along the T.H.E.M.E.S agenda of the current administration.
He said that the Council which comprises of experts and specialists from a variety of disciplines including bio-banking, biosecurity, molecular biology, public health, ethics, security, law, anthropology, environment, agriculture and representatives of the civil society will provide governance and a regulatory frameworks that will ensure a biosecure environment in the State.
“The Council will also ensure that biological samples and data emanating from Lagos State are collected, stored and accessed in ways beneficial to the State,” he asserted.
According to Prof. Abayomi, the Council has the mandate of ensuring that knowledge gained from the samples and data accessed are shared to increase Lagos State’s medical, biological knowledge and improve preparedness for unforeseen emergency situations.
In his words, “The Council shall pay attention and exercise oversight function on issues of international treaties that protect society from biological threats and the subject matter of changing ethical paradigms as they relate to access, benefit-sharing and compliance of biological samples, associated data and generated digital sequence information between local and international collaborating research centres”.
“Members of the Council shall meet at least quarterly on annual basis to adjudicate over important issues that will be presented to them by the biobanking and biosecurity management teams as well as the disease surveillance, biosecurity and global health unit of the Department of Disease Control in the State Ministry of Health”, Abayomi said.
He emphasised that Lagos State government has instituted the one health paradigm and advancing ability to be part of the national and global health security network as well as the global knowledge economy, stressing that the advent of Ebola opened a new chapter, which revolves around bio-economy and preparedness for emergencies.
“Lagos State is a rapidly expanding megacity that is experiencing multiple biosecurity threats which require proactive strategic mitigation countermeasures and this is why we are developing a much-needed bio-banking capacity and bio-security framework along the lines of the One Health paradigm, the national and global health security agenda which includes human, plant and animal health, environmental integrity, security and the law”, the Commissioner said.
He explained that bio-security is a wide concept that involves the protection of biological sovereign space and the knowledge therein derivable, stressing that biosecurity is protecting the sovereignty of a communities biological space to ensure that it is healthy whilst also ensuring that knowledge that is derivable from it is sovereign and protected.
Members of the Lagos State Governing Council on bio-banking and bio-security include the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Titilayo Goncalves, Consultant Community Engagement and Environmental Impact Assessor, Prof. Akin Osibogun; Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola; and a Data Consultant, Prof. Adebayo Onajole.
Others are Dr. Ololade Wright, a Community Health Specialist; Dr. Babajide Martins, representative of the Ministry of Justice; Dr Yetunde Kuyinu; Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite; Dr. Ismail Abdul Salam; the Lagos State Commissioner for Police and a Technical Adviser on Biobanking and Bio-security project.