Monrovia - The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), Food and Agricultural organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners over the weekend observed the second International Day of One Health under the theme: “Preventing the next epidemics through one health coordination and collaboration in Liberia”.
The program took place in the auditorium of the University of Liberia, Capitol Hill on Friday November 3, 2017.
Speaking at the occasion, the National Coordinator for One health program, Sonpu Blama Sieh said the initiative is intended to create awareness for those institutions working in the area of disease surveillance for better coordination and collaboration to ease the many challenges confronting the health sector of the country.
“The Concept of One Health is to bring human health, animal health and environmental health together and work together to see how best we can share information to better be able to predict, protect and be able to respond to the situation rapidly,” he said.
He added that the day is aimed at building the minds of the young people on human, animal and environmental health within the university frame work, citing that using the University of Liberia is an excellent entrant point or gateway to getting to the young people.
Sieh said about 60% of the infectious diseases today come from wildlife, something he said need a robust approach to curtail and prevent such infectious diseases at an early stage of development to avoid rapid spread in the country.
“This approach helps to prevent the disease early from spreading when it is in another sector, especially when the information is share and them you can better be able to respond once it is in the scope and not to allow it goes beyond,” Sieh added.
Also speaking, the Minister of health, Dr. Bernice Dahn said the government of Liberia, through the Ministry of Health (MOH) is committed to working together with other sectors using the One Health approach to ensure that human, animal and environmental health are secure and protected.
“I want to thank you all for coming and believe that the activities planned will be educative and help to provide information to create awareness to students, faculty and the public on the One Health approach in Liberia for collaboration in preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks of zoonotic emerging and re-emerging diseases and events,”
Through the coordination and collaboration of the One health Platform in Liberia, we are optimistic we can all work together by sharing information, skills development and harness the required manpower capacity, resources to prevent, detect and respond appropriately to diseases that may present and threaten Liberians and humanity in general,” she said.
Minister Dahn also added that Liberia is one of the hotspots for emerging and re-emerging pandemic threats in the West African region, emphasizing that when institutionalized to the fullest as a formal multi-sector coordination approach, One Health will promote the prevention efforts and save time in detecting and responding to an outbreak of epidemic in the country.
“Drawing on lessons learned from the Ebola Virus disease outbreak, the government of Liberia developed a global health security agenda roadmap and voluntarily conducted joint external evaluation of WHO-IHR in 2016 after the OIE/PVS assessment in 2013 to identify gaps. To address these gaps multi-sectorial meeting was held in Buchanan, Grand Bassa to develop a joint action plan for health security,” averred.