The West African Health Organization (WAHO) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and other partners has begun a three-day cross-border meeting aimed at enhancing a resilient health system in the region through partnership.
The three-day forum, which is ongoing at Golden Gate Hotel in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, is centered on epidemic-prone diseases, including Malarial and Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Speaking on Monday, December 12, at the start of the gathering, the Professional-In-Charge of Epidemic and Emergencies of WAHO, Dr. Felicite Chokki, said the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) reveals the urgent need to review various national health priorities.
She pointed out that EVD also gives reasons for the critical importance of increasing inter-sectorial partnership to strengthening resilient health strategy.
She said the virus shows that an epidemic can easily cross over from one country to the other, and as such, the need to build an international effort cannot be over emphasized.
Also speaking, the Disease Prevention Control Advisor at W.H.O., Dr. Peter Clement, said it’s time all regional governments and stakeholders improve cross-border management of public health emergencies, including malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
He said the current meeting provides a unique opportunity to improve cross-border collaboration beyond the landscape and lens of epidemic prone diseases to include malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
Dr. Clement pointed out that lessons learned from the recent Ebola virus disease outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone created the momentum to strengthen cross-border conversations as evident by several cross-border coordination meetings and interventions.
Dr. Kabla Amihere, the Chief of Mission of the International Organization on Migration (IOM), said the meeting is evidence that Liberia and other countries in the region especially, in the Mano River Union countries are still recovering from the outbreak of the Ebola virus and other priority diseases that threaten and breakdown public health systems.
“Meanwhile, we must appreciate the efforts of the Government of Liberia and partners, who [we] worked collaboratively with to have seen Liberia announced Ebola free in the region more than once. It wasn`t just easy to have happened,” he added.
For her part, Liberia’s Assistant Minister of Health for Curative Services, Dr. Catherine Cooper, who declared the meeting officially opened, lauded the organizers for the forum.
She urged participants to come up with meaningful recommendations and suggestions to address cross-border surveillance in the sub-region.
The meeting is being held under the theme: “One health approach and the Global Health Security Agenda.” Editing by Jonathan Browne