ECOWAS Launches Crossborder Meeting on Epidemic Disease
Monrovia – Delegates from the ECOWAS States are going through a three day cross-border meeting on Epidemic-Prone Disease which includes malaria and tropical neglected diseases.
Reported by J.H. Webster Clayeh – [email protected]
Over the past five years, countries in the West Africa region have faced various epidemic outbreaks and health emergencies crisis.
The meeting is however intended to strengthen the epidemiological surveillance and adequately response to many epidemics through the implementation of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) in accordance with the memorandum of cooperation for epidemics control in West African countries.
Speaking at the launch of the meeting at the Golden Gate hotel Monday, the head of prevention and control at the Ministry of Health, Catherine Cooper said the Ministry of Health is pleased to have such meeting after the Ebola virus has recently devastated the three Mino River Union countries and extended to other countries in the ECOWAS region.
“We have learned that disease has no border. Outbreak diseases can spread from one country to another country and from one continent to another continent. And we know that international travel is prominent,” Cooper said.
“It is therefore very important and critical that we as countries prepare ourselves with technical support from our partners to strengthen our cross-border surveillance”.
“Our public health emergency preparedness must first start in our individual countries, we must set our propriety well so that we increase the capacity at the country level so as to prevent, to detest and to response to any public health emergency of international concern,” she added.
Also speaking, the head of disease prevention and control at World Health Organization, Dr. Clement Peter said the meeting provides a unique opportunity to improve cross border collaboration beyond the landscape and lens of epidemic prone diseases.
He noted that lessons learned from the recent Ebola virus crisis created the momentum to strengthen cross border conversations as evident by several cross border coordination meetings and interventions.
Commenting on communiqués from previous cross border meetings, Dr. Peter said there are important recommendations whose implementation is not fully realized.
Mentioning the recommendations, he said: “Creating an enabling information sharing platform; data sharing mechanism, and sharing of expertise, lab recourses and medical supplies and mobilizing resources for cross border activities.”
For his part, the chief of mission of International Organization of Migration (IOM), Kabla Amihere lauded the effort of the Liberian government and partners who work collaboratively to bring the Ebola virus to an end.
According to him, IOM Liberia has supported the government in different areas of migration management.
“Although it is considering a new marriage, our partnership with the Ministry of Health has been remarkable,” he said. “We work in establishing and managing three Ebola treatment units and renovated ninety-nine healthcare facilities in Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Grand Bassa countries”.