As a signatory to the adoption of the International Health Regulations (IHR) at the 58th World Health Assembly, Nigeria conducted its first Joint External Evaluation (JEE) in 2017 using the JEE tool. This first JEE enabled the development of a five-year National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) in 2018 to help improve the country’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to public health emergencies, and also formed the baseline that will be used to measure the country’s improvements in subsequent JEEs.
The IHR-Strengthening Project (IHR-SP), delivered by UKHSA, has been part of the country’s JEE journey since 2017, providing technical expertise in several IHR thematic areas to the National Coordination Unit for IHR, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) and its partners. This is in line with the UKHSA IHR-SP's core mandate to work with partner countries to support improved IHR compliance and global health security.
In 2019, in preparation for its next JEE, Nigeria conducted a country-led mid-term JEE with UKHSA IHR-SP as the mission lead responsible for feeding back immediate recommendations from the evaluation
to the country leads/stakeholders. The mid-term JEE saw an improvement in the overall JEE score from 39% in 2017 to 42%. This mission also identified gaps for further improvements and led to the UKHSA IHR-SP's commitment to include “Chemical Events” thematic area to its portfolio, bringing the total IHR thematic areas in Nigeria supported by the UKHSA IHR-SP to seven (7) i.e., Emergency Preparedness Response and Resilience (EPRR), Laboratory Strengthening, One Health (OH), Surveillance, Human Resource (HR) and Chemical Events.
By August 2023, Nigeria became one of only three countries ready to conduct a second JEE assessment. This second JEE assessment was preceded by a country led multi-sectoral stakeholder self-assessment that determined individual scores and priorities for the 56 indicators of the 19 IHR thematic areas based on answers from the contextual and technical questions of the JEE tool. The priorities identified for each thematic area were tailored to what the country needed to improve scores and allowed the country to objectively assess its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to identify gaps in compliance to the IHRs. The individual scores, as well as the average of the 19 thematic areas, and identified priorities were presented to WHO for the external evaluation.