The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has chosen Nigeria as for a test run for its new draft Epidemic and Disaster Control strategy to help fight and avert natural and man made disasters presenting bedeviling several countries in the world.
The epidemic control strategy is designed to get countries ready to adopt new, faster methods of saving lives and properties during natural disasters and out break diseases.
Nigeria, according to the IFRCS, was chosen because of its proneness to epidemics and for its 350,000 strong volunteers.
The Senior Officer, Public Health Emergencies, IFRCS, Mr Tammam Aloudat, who spoke to our correspondent during the training of volunteers in Abuja, said the international body was concerned with teaching countries new, simple public health methods of combating epidemics.
He said Nigeria was prone to natural disasters as well as disease outbreaks like cholera, meningitis, and malaria, but unfortunately, it was not well equipped with several new prevention methods to save human lives.
Aloudat said with a wide volunteer base of 350,000 people, the Nigeria Red Cross Society was in a position to provide a reliable and const-ructive feedback to the Geneva-based IFRCS for eventual adoption by all countries.
His words "The new manual is a symbolic commitment of IFRCS to get countries to respond faster and better to epidemics. We want to reduce the vulnerability to epidemics within the general population.
"Nigeria sits in a place where it is endemic to many communicable diseases, particularly, yellow fever, malaria, polio, meningitis, and measles. This makes communities with little prevention susceptible to having outbreaks of these diseases.
"We are trying not to only prevent outbreaks, but we also try to mobilise people to prepare for them. People have to be mobilised, taught and trained on those things they could do to save lives in event of outbreaks and epidemics.
"People have to know that it is not only medicine that cure people or save people from epidemics. It is public health approach. People have to know that the management of cholera is not about vaccines, but water, good sanitation, and good hygiene habits."