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Vice President Foh launches One Health Platform PDF Print E-mail
Politics
Written by Kadrie Koroma   
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 18:14

Vice President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh has officially launched the One Health Platform, an innovative, proactive to prevent, detect and respond to future disease outbreak in Sierra Leone past Friday June 23, 2017 at the Miatta Conference Centre, Brookfields in Freetown.

Delivering his keynote address, Vice President Dr. Victor Foh described the ceremony as an history making event of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, recalling the launch of the maternal and child health week in June this year.

He said by the launch of the One Health Platform, Sierra Leone is taking another giant step towards achieving its health care delivery system, pointing out that by this step, they would be able to identify, diagnose and prevent, and cure diseases that are transmitted from animals to human beings.

The Vice President underscored the importance of becoming a member of the One Health, stating that Sierra Leone is enhancing its partnership at the international stage and together with partners, they will be taking the Global Health Security Agenda to a productive level.

Dr. Foh on behalf of the President, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma expressed thanks to partners for their support to the One Health Platform to meeting the target set as a nation.

The Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said with the launch, Sierra Leone has become the first country in West Africa to launch its national One Health Platform, representing a big step forward in ensuring better coordination in the management of zoonotic diseases and other public health events.

He said a significant number of pathogens affecting human are of animal origin, adding that it is estimated that as high as 75 percent of emerging and re-emerging pathogens come from animals. He added that zoonotic diseases have therefore become a growing threat to human lives meaning the traditional approach of focusing on human health security alone as a means of achieving global health security is no longer tenable

Dr. Fofanah informed his audience that the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease clearly highlighted the link between animal and public health and the importance of veterinary and medical sectors working in a coordinated way.

The Minister reiterated that the One Health approach represent a powerful framework that is based on the understanding that human, animal and environmental health are all interlinked and require a coordinated approach.

The Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security, Prof. Monty Jones said  over the last 15 years, the world has faced with more than 15 deadly zoonotic or vector-borne global outbreaks, both viral and bacterial, adding that since 1980, more than 87 new zoonotic or vector-borne emerging infectious disease have been discovered.

He stated that the International Livestock Research Institute has highlighted zoonoses as major obstacles to poverty alleviation, affecting 1,000,000,000 livestock keepers, noting that the report estimated that there are over 2,500,000,000 cases of human illness and 2.7 million deaths annually due to the top 56 zoonoses.

Prof. Jones said the One Health Platform creates the avenue where the three sectors: human health, animal health and the environment can pool their resources to form a formidable front to fight against any pandemic threat.

The Executive Chairperson, Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Madam Haddijatou Jallow said the burden of diseases is attributed to environmental determinates.

She said a large part of cardiovascular diseases are directly caused by the fine particulate matter in the air that we breathe, and that environmental pollution of mercury or lead severely affects mental health and intellect.

The EPA Executive Chairperson stated that exposure to persistent organic pollutants can lead to serious health effects including certain cancers, birth defects, dysfunctional immune and reproductive systems and greater susceptibility to disease and damages to the central and peripheral nervous systems.

She said the Environment Protection Agency was established by an Act of Parliament in 2008 as amended in 2010, and is mandated to effectively protect and manage the environment of Sierra Leone.

United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Sunil Saigal said health security is crucial in a world increasingly threatened by emerging and re-emerging diseases, the risen of antimicrobial resistance, and other health emergencies that place intense pressure not only on health services, but also on economics and the society as a whole.

He said the African region faces numerous public health challenges from emerging and re-emerging diseases with epidemic and pandemic risks. He added that countries in the African region report an average of 80 to 100 acute public health events annually, and more than 80 percent of which are infectious diseases, adding that about 75 percent of the emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature.

Mr. Sunil Saigal said the launch of the One Health Platform is timely, stating that key priority areas will be to strengthen the coordination mechanism at national and district level, strengthen surveillance systems for priority zoonotic diseases and pathogens, ensure that mechanisms for responding to zoonoses are in place and addressing the veterinary and animal health workforce.

Deputy Assistant Administrator, Global Health, USAID, Izene Koek, said 70 percent of emerging diseases are of animal origin and as the global population continues to grow, new contagious pathogens are likely to rise that threaten human population the way Ebola did in west Africa in 2014 and 2015.

She said in 2014, the country was fighting for its very survival against the Ebola virus, and less than three years later, Sierra Leone is among the first countries in West Africa to launch its national One Health Platform.

The Chief Medical Officer and chairman for the ceremony, Dr. Brima Kargbo said the platform once operational, will be a formidable mechanism in achieving Sierra Leone’s commitments under the Global Health Security Agenda

 

 

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