By Ibrahim Kabba Turay
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has received delegations from the World Health Organization (WHO), Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on emergency preparedness at the ministry’s conference room in Freetown.
The engagement was for the government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Health to strengthen the health security and emergency capacity and to implement the emergency preparedness and response initiatives in Sierra Leone.
In his statement, the WHO Sierra Leone Country Representative, Innocent Nuwagira, said WHO, through the CDC team, will work jointly with the Government of Sierra Leone to identify priority areas and engage with its partners in articulating a shared vision for strengthening health security and emergency.
He said following a recommendation by African Health Ministers to adopt a new strategy to transform health security in the region during the seventy-second session of the WHO regional committee for Africa in LOME in August 2022, there aim was to strengthen member states capacities to effectively prepare, detect an respond to public health emergencies, transforming Africa surveillance system and strengthen an utilizing response group for emergencies.
“The emergencypPreparedness and response flagship scoping mission 2023 exemplifies WHO’s global commitment to equitable health preparedness and response. Together with Sierra Leone, we are dedicated to fortifying healthcare systems and crisis readiness, ensuring the well-being of the nation’s people,” WHO Rep.
“In this collaborative endeavour with Africa CDC, WHO is focusing on solidarity and preparedness, striving for a healthier and more resilient Sierra Leone and contributing to enhanced global health security, our shared mission is to protect and improve the lives of all those we serve.”
He maintained that the mission of the WHO Director-General, Adhanom Ghebreyesus is that “WE must stop the cycle of panic and neglect when it comes to pandemic preparedness. We don’t want COVID-19 to repeat, we don’t want vaccine nationalism to repeat, and we don’t want people dying from lack of oxygen to repeat.”
Deputy Minister of Health 1, Dr. Charles Senessie, in his word, said there is a lot Sierra Leone can learn from the past pandemics, Ebola and COVID-19, and other diseases.
He maintained that during the period of the Ebola pandemic, he was at the WHO, and what Sierra Leoneans experienced during that period made them learnt a lot.
He said the ministry welcomed the initiative from WHO and (CDC) and that they will ensure that they work closely with the team to make sure that they have a better planning for the next pandemic.