The West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has embarked on a mission to Sierra Leone from May 22-24, 2017 to identify the upgrading needs of the National Reference Laboratories of the Mano River Union countries.
It is part of the operationalization of the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Disease Surveillance and Control (ECOWAS - RCDC), an effective and efficient laboratory system that is prerequisite for surveillance, early warning and adequate response to public health crises.
|Group photo: (R-L) front row-second Yoko Takazawa, Madam Madina Rahman, Madam Zuliatu Cooper and Dr. Abdourahmane Sow
WAHO has developed a partnership with the Regional Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the implementation of a regional project entitled: “Supporting and Strengthening Sub-Regional Post-Ebola Medical Surveillance and Socio-Economic Recovery Initiatives in West Africa”.
Briefing the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Madam Madina Rahman at her office at Youyi Building in Freetown,the In-Charge of Epidemic Control and Public Laboratory,WAHO,Dr. Abdourahmane Sow said their mission was to identify the needs and gaps of the laboratory systems in the country and improve them in order to better prepare to detect epidemic prone diseases.
He said it is a joint mission with UNDP to support the Mano River Union member states including,Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Cote d’ Voire.He added that their mission was also to improve surveillance system and will be visiting the Reference Laboratories in Kenema, Central Public Laboratories and the BSL3 laboratories and aids them.
UNDP Regional Governance and Peace building Programme Officer, Yoko Takazawa said the project is a regional project funded by the Japanese Government, adding that the project has two components: regional and country components.
She pointed out that the project support Post-Ebola affected countries and collaborates with ECOWAS and WAHO to identify gaps and needs of the laboratories and compiled reports from affected countries and the type of equipment the project can provide to each country.
Responding, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Madam Madina Rahman expressed appreciations to the visiting team from WAHO and UNDP in identifying the needs of National Reference Laboratories in the Mona River Union countries.
She said the project is a welcomed idea by the government, adding that what they are doing as a government is ‘sustainability’ to ensure their efforts do not go down the drains. She maintained that they should be able to build capacity in-country and respond to the people’s needs, and pledged government’s commitment to ensure the project succeed.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.