Eritrea is the second country to develop a national action plan for health security in Africa.
From 4-6 April, a strategic partnership for country planning consultation took place to develop Eritrea’s five year national action plan for health security at Hotel Asmara Palace. The main objective of the workshop was to clarify the need for a unified National Action Plan for Health Security.
The workshop was officially opened by the Hon Minister of Health Ms Amina Nurhussen represented by Dr Andebrhan Tesfatsion, Director General of Public Health, who noted that the national health security strategy provides strategic direction to ensure nationwide improvements in health security over the next five years are guided by a common vision; based on sound evidence; and carried out in an efficient, collaborative manner.
The FAO country representative to Eritrea, Bui Thilan congratulated Eritrea for being the second country after Tanzania to develop a national action plan for health security in Africa. She also committed FAO’s readiness to support collaboration between animal and human sectors.
The WHO representative to Eritrea, Dr Josephine Namboze, while giving key note remarks, appreciated the strong political commitment and technical leadership of the Government of the State of Eritrea. Furthermore, she mentioned that International Health Regulations (IHR) entered into force on 15 June 2007 with the main purpose and scope of preventing, protecting against, controlling and providing a public health response to the international spread of diseases without interfering with international trade and traffic. In line with this, WHO is committed to ensuring that this process is supported fully to the realization of the primary objective which is health security.
Dr Ambrose Talisuna, regional advisor country capacity emergency preparedness and international health regulations, WHO/AFRO made a presentation on regional perspective for global health security. He emphasized that there was a need to ensure that Africa has core capacities to ensure health security through prevention, prediction, early warning, early detection, rapid and effective response to health emergencies and disasters, using an all-hazard approach that is linked to primary health care systems.
The event had high and active participation of the participants who were drawn from various sectors, including: the MOH, WHO, FAO, UNICEF, ministry of agriculture and veterinary services, immigration and border control, civil society organizations, and technical committee members. The participants contributed their expertise towards the development of the five-year strategic plan that describes the vision, goal, general objectives and strategies based on sound evidences.
During the workshop multi-sectorial breakout sessions reviewed the priority activities, objectives, targets and milestones of the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS).
Dr Ludy Suryantoro gave a global perspective of the Strategic Partnership for country Planning (SPP). The three levels of WHO congratulated the government of Eritrea for taking the first step of having the national action plan, and expressed WHO’s readiness and commitment to support the state of Eritrea by working in partnership with FAO and OIE.
The participants made the recommendations and identified next steps, which include: a complete detailed costing of the health security plan, conducting a consensus building workshop on the plan, formulation of a steering committee and multi-sectoral working group for it’s execution, phased implementation of the action plan, organizing a partnership forum meeting for strategic partnership involving wider UN sectors.
The Minister for health, Her Excellency Mrs. Amina Nurhussien, while closing the workshop highlighted that Eritrea’s five year action plan for health security will help the country in intensifying and maintaining IHR core capacities’ for ensuring rapid detection, verification and response to public health risks.
It will also enable Eritrea to effectively use WHO tools and directives on implementing its national action plan that support to develop core capacities for surveillance, preparedness and response towards all public health emergencies. Furthermore, it will allow the country to identify the priorities needed, that help Eritrea to meet its international health regulation and obligations.
In addition, she assured the participants that the government and the people of Eritrea will continue to strive to protect the health of its population and to work together with international communities in health emergencies and other health related programs. The honorable Minister called upon all stakeholders to implement the national plan of action and ensure that the required capacities stipulated in the action plan are put in place and are functioning.