Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) have been credited with driving the recent successes achieved in the Nigeria polio eradication program. EOC concept was also applied to the Ebola virus disease outbreak and is applicable to a range of other public health emergencies. This article outlines the structure and functionality of a typical EOC in addressing public health emergencies in low-resource settings. It ascribes the successful polio and Ebola responses in Nigeria to several factors including political commitment, population willingness to engage, accountability, and operational and strategic changes made by the effective use of an EOC and Incident Management System. In countries such as Nigeria where the central or federal government does not directly hold states accountable, the EOC provides a means to improve performance and use data to hold health workers accountable by using innovative technologies such as geographic position systems, dashboards, and scorecards.
Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria (Dr Shuaib); The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Dr Musa); WHO, Abuja, Nigeria (Drs Musa, Mkanda, and Banda); UNICEF, Nigeria, Abuja (Ms Nyanti, Mr Corkum, and Dr Dieng); Nigeria's National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Abuja (Dr Muhammad); International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva, Switzerland (Dr Mahoney); UNICEF, Nigeria, Abuja (Mr Corkum); University of Alabama School of Public Health, Birmingham (Mr Durojaiye); CDC, NEOC (Mr Nganda); CORE Group Partners Project (Dr Sani); and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (Dr Pate).
Correspondence: Faisal M. Shuaib, MD, DrPH, MPH, National Polio Emergency Operation Center, Nigeria Ministry of Health, Abuja 00000, Nigeria (Faisalshuaib@yahoo.com).
The authors acknowledge the able leadership provided by Nigeria's former Honorable Minister of Health Prof C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Director of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) Prof Abdulsalami Nasidi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health Dr Jide Idris, and Rivers State Commissioner of Health Dr Sampson Parker. Much appreciation to Dr Olukayode Oguntimehin, Dr Ismail A. Abdus-salam, Dr Nnanna Onyekwere, Dr Oni Idigbe, Prof Sunday Omilabu, Mr Charles Nzuki, and all EEOC Strategy Group members, as well as the Response Team leads and members at the Lagos and Port Harcourt EEOCs.
The authors also acknowledge the support of the BMGF, especially the critical roles played by Michael Galway and Jay Wenger in the early days of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.