Ebola, Lassa Fever: ECOWAS to adopt “One Health’ Approach

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ECOWAS Ministers of Health and Environment will converge on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Saturday, June 17, to formalise the implementation of the “One Health” Approach in the region.

Ahead of Saturday, a preparatory meeting of the ECOWAS Policy Coordination Platform on ‘One Health’ Approach is underway in Abuja.

The platform brings together experts from human health, animal health and environment sectors.

It is expected that the meeting will come up with proposals on combating health emergencies such as Ebola, Lassa Fever and other epidemics for the Ministers to adopt as “One Health” approach for West Africa.

Specifically, the technical meeting will come up with proposal for terms of reference for the development of an integrated multisectoral strategic plan for public health emergencies.
The meeting will also make useful recommendations on the roadmap on the main interventions to carry out during the period 2017-2018.

Despite the significant efforts made by Member States, the region is regularly faced with threats and social-economic consequences of epidemics caused by infectious diseases including zoonotic diseases such as viral haemorrhagic fevers (Ebola Virus Disease, Rift Valley and Lassa Fever), Yellow fever, avian influenza, plague and anthrax.

Therefore, to access the situation, the “One Health” approach being promoted by FAO, OIE and WHO, is aimed at strengthening multiple-sector coordination in building and maintaining essential capacities to prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance threats with a view to enhancing regional health security.

Speaking at the opening of the coordination meeting, WAHO Director General, Dr. Xavier Crespin, stressed the urgent need to formalise the implementation of the “One Health” approach as highlighted by the 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic which led to loss of over 11,000 lives.

In a related development, a meeting of WAHO Health Partners Forum is ongoing at the ECOWAS secretariat, Abuja.

Declared open by the DG, Dr Crespin, the Forum will deliberate and draft proposals for roadmap on: Hospital Reform, Maternal Health and Child Health.

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