WRAIR Africa and MOD-HIP Organize Meeting to Enhance Health Services

United States

Abuja, Nigeria — On May 9-10, 2024, a gathering of esteemed health officials, military site commanders, and team leaders from the 31 program sites of the Ministry of Defence – Health Implementation Programme (MOD-HIP), in collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Africa (WRAIR), took place in Abuja, Nigeria. The purpose of this meeting was to assess progress of the partnership on defense health between Nigeria and the United States, which endeavors to deliver high-quality health services to both military personnel and civilians in Nigeria.

Dr. Ibrahim Abubakar Kana mni, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence, officially inaugurated the meeting and stated that it would provide site commanders and team leaders with a valuable platform to exchange insights on effectively safeguarding the health of the populations they serve.

Brigadier General NAE Okeji Rtd, the Director General of MOD-HIP, emphasized the significant achievements resulting from the partnership, particularly the establishment of the Defence Reference Laboratory (DRL) in Abuja. The DRL plays a crucial role in conducting viral load testing for 29 states across the country and assists the Armed Forces of Nigeria in responding to disease outbreaks. 

During the opening ceremony, Joseph E. Zadrozny, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to the partnership and provided assurances of ongoing cooperation and collaboration from the Mission. He emphasized that defense health contributes to global health, a proud legacy of WRAIR over its 127-year history.  The WRAIR has been a leader in efforts against the world’s most pervasive and high-impact infectious diseases, such as Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and Dengue.

Facilitated by the HJF Medical Research International Nigeria (HJFMRI), this annual meeting focuses on how military-to-military engagement and collaboration on health in Nigeria can be enhanced.  The partnership between MOD-HIP and WRAIR is predicated upon force protection and the health and well-being of those in uniform – but in the endeavor to serve Nigerian and American military men and women, the collaboration provides life-saving HIV prevention and treatment services to tens of thousands of Nigerian civilians.

Expressing gratitude for the collaborative efforts that have contributed to the partnership's ongoing success, Helina Meri, the Country Director of WRAIR Africa, thanked the stakeholders and encouraged everyone to continue working diligently to improve health outcomes for Nigerian military and civilians.

Nigeria Site Commanders Meeting 2024
Nigeria Site Commanders Meeting 2024 - Posters
Nigeria Site Commanders Meeting Helina