Nigeria: 'WAHO needs extra US$2.5m annually to fight epidemics'

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - The West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the specialised institution responsible for health in the region, requires an additional US$2.5 million annually to strengthen its capacity to fight epidemics, according to its Chief Executive, Dr. Xavier Crespin.

In a document detailing WAHO's response since the Ebola outbreak in March 2014, Dr Crespin said such additional resources would improve the capacity of the organisation to cope with such outbreaks.

As the regional institution responsible for health, Dr Crespin said WAHO had responded vigorously to the unprecedented outbreak by “speedily providing the affected countries with the support needed to confront the epidemic.”

The overall objective of the response by the ECOWAS Commission and WAHO, he said, is to reduce the number of mortality through early detection, adequate response and building the capacity of Member States.

This is mainly through supporting the states to hone the surveillance skills of all healthcare providers; ensure adequate care for cases across the country and strengthening the capacity of healthcare facilities in the areas of regards protective equipment, medicines, materials for hygiene and sanitation, laboratory reagents and consumables.

In addition, WAHO and the Commission are working towards strengthening preventive and surveillance measures within the Community at the borders; raising awareness, informing, and educating the communities on preventive measures; and strengthening collaboration among health ministries and other departments for a multi-sectoral response.

He reaffirmed the validity of these initiatives in ensuring that the communities are well informed on preventive measures, cases are detected as quickly as possible, and coordination and monitoring units are functional.

Dr. Crespin called for the strengthening of epidemiological surveillance as well as the preparedness and response capacity of national health systems so that they can provide leadership at the national level in fighting the epidemic.

He also called for emphasis on advocacy and resource mobilisation, communication and social and community mobilisation, capacity building of affected and non-affected countries, monitoring and coordinating of the management of the epidemic.

In this regard, he said WAHO and the Commission were engaged with the training and sensitisation of health officers on how to handle cases and precautionary measures to take in order to avoid transmission, as well as informing and sensitising the people through educational messages aimed at risk reduction.

He disclosed that US$400,000 has been released to the three affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) with a view to strengthening their epidemiological surveillance and response capacity following a series of missions fielded to Guinea by a WAHO team.

Moreover, an unprecedented campaign is on-going to sensitise community citizens, mainly those in the affected countries and targeted at local and national decision-makers, religious and traditional leaders.

It is being complemented with a large-scale social mobilisation of traditional chiefs, the communities and media professionals, as well as a strong campaign on behavioural change while building the capacities of media professionals.
-0- PANA SEG 20Nov2014

20 november 2014 09:59:49




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