Canadian health chief visits Sierra Leone


April 15, 2015 By Victoria Saffa

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Gregory Taylor, has arrived in Sierra Leone as part of a week-long tour of the sub-region to garner useful information on what role Canada can play in efforts to end the Ebola outbreak and rebuild the battered healthcare system in the three worst affected countries.
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This is Dr. Taylor’s maiden visit to Sierra Leone. He is expected to meet with government officials and development partners, including Dr. Eilish Cleary, Chief Medical Officer of Health of New Brunswick, who is currently heading Ebola surveillance operations in the country.

He is also expected to travel to Magburaka, northern Sierra Leone, where some of the Canadian health experts are deployed to help contain and defeat the worst Ebola outbreak in the world.

According to Dr. Taylor, no fewer than 70 Canadians are currently working on the Ebola response in the region, and are deployed through agencies and non-governmental organizations, adding that by next week Canada would be sending a second mobile lab team to Sierra Leone.

He said Canada had deployed a mobile lab team in the country since June last year, deployed in Magburaka in the Tonkolili district.

“Things are changing. As the response goes from slowing the outbreak down to getting to zero, it’s shifting and it’s changing and it’s a real opportunity for us to see on the ground, so what do we need to do? … How can we best help as this shifts,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has welcomed the arrival of the Canadian Public Health Chief, describing it as plus in the good relationship between the two nations.

A spokesperson at the ministry also praised the just concluded visit of two German Federal Ministers of Health and Development, Herman Gosh and Gerd Muller, who made a donation of US$250 million aid package to the region for redeveloping the health systems after the end of the outbreak.