Nigeria and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have taken the cooperation between the two countries in the area of Health to a level of putting pens to paper to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support resilience health system.
While welcoming the Korean delegation led by the Ambassador, Jon Tong Chol who represented DPRK, to the MOU signing event which held at the Health Ministry’s Headquarters, Abuja on Wednesday. The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire described the agreement to be on area which is very dear to the heart of Nigeria at the moment when the world and the country are passing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
He mentioned the areas of interest to Nigeria in the cooperation between the two countries to include that of public health and primary health care which he said “is even more urgent now at the stage of the community transmission of COVID-19, when the health systems of all the countries are being put to test.”
The Minister further said that “We have seen strong and more resilient health systems around the world collapsing with the disease outbreak….It is a time when all countries need to revisit their health system, both the public health and the individual person’s health.” He said that this is a time when every country needs one another more than ever before while disclosed to his visitors that “Nigeria has done very well to ensure that its health system does not collapse.
COVID-19”, he said “is a virus which nobody knows its nature very well; the future is not very clear hence there is need for knowledge sharing, where the world and all humanity work together to defend their citizens.
“It is against this background that we are pleased to be a part of this agreement.” We know that our country is not among the richest and not among the most technologically developed. We are inclined to share your experiences, your level of development which we see as very valuable, therefore, Your Excellency, we take this agreement to be very sacrosanct to govern the relationship between Nigeria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the hope that other agreements will follow in other areas, education, research, and also in industrial life”, he said.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) (North Korea) have over the years maintained a cordial relationship. Although there was no formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries, efforts in that direction began in 2014. The DPRK forwarded a draft MOU in the field of Health and Medical Sciences, several interactions took place and a consensus was reached.
The Bilateral Branch of the Federal Ministry of Health forwarded the agreed document to the Legal Unit of the Health Ministry and secured the ratification of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in March, 2017. This is in line with the protocol of diplomatic engagement with other countries. A side meeting was held in May, 2018 during the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, both parties consolidated on the Agreement.
At the signing event of Wednesday, 17th June, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed of all the development and it gave approval for the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to sign the Agreement on behalf of Nigeria with a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry Counselor, Prince Adewale Awolesi were present at the signing event.