Posted by: africanpressorganization | 7 October 2009

Burkina Faso / Ministers call for sub-regional fund for epidemic, disaster response in West Africa





Burkina Faso / Ministers call for sub-regional fund for epidemic, disaster response in West Africa


OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina-Faso, October 7, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — West African health ministers have called for the mobilization of a sub-regional fund for preparation and response to epidemics and other disasters.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in conformity with its mandate, is also urged to coordinate all international support actions and the mobilization of resources, technical and otherwise, from the international community to assist the sub-region.


The sub-regional fund mobilization should start from 2010, according to the ministers from 13 West African countries, who met in Ouagadougou. They also called on partners to provide technical, financial and logistic support for implementing cross-border activities on disease control and surveillance.


In a final communiqué at the end of the ministerial meeting on integrated disease surveillance and response strengthening, which was preceded by a three-day meeting of experts and partners, the health ministers took note of efforts by partners including the WHO, the WHO African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (WHO/APOC), UNICEF, the International Centre for Animal Husbandry Development and Research in Sub-humid Regions (CIRDES) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), towards reinforcement of disease surveillance and epidemic response.


They also urged the West African Health Organization (WAHO) to make a strong case to Heads of State and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), for budget increase to step up disease surveillance and control and epidemic response. A session on cross-border issues should also be organized during the annual meeting of ECOWAS health ministers, the communiqué said.


The ministers thanked partners for their support, especially WHO/APOC, which co-sponsored the four-day experts and ministerial meeting,


In support of partnership initiatives at strengthening disease surveillance and control in Africa, which bears the highest burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), the Joint Action Forum (JAF), the governing body of WHO/APOC at its fourteenth session in Kampala in December 2008, urged onchocerciasis endemic countries to strengthen cross-border cooperation. The organization of sub-regional ministerial meetings is in response to that call.


While declaring the ministerial meeting open on 2nd October 2009, the Health Minister of Burkina Faso, Mr Seydou Bouda noted that the West Africa sub-region with more than 260 million inhabitants had its own share of epidemiological challenges marked by a prevalence of communicable but preventable diseases.


According to the minister, epidemics which challenged the health systems of the sub-region between 2008 and 2009, included meningitis, cholera, measles, yellow fever, Lassa fever, poliomyelitis and the A (H1N1) flu.


Other ministers in their interventions at the meeting held at the Ouaga 2000 Conference Centre, pledged their support for the implementation of the recommendations and resolutions, noting that “disease and epidemics do not respect borders.”


Dr Djamila Cabral, the WHO Country Representative in Burkina Faso highlighted the need for the pooling of resources and concerted efforts, since no country can afford to go it alone.


The health ministers expressed their solidarity with the government and people of Burkina Faso over the recent flood disaster that hit the country. They visited the Yalgado Hospital in Ouagadougou, one of the facilities seriously affected by the flood, which followed the heavy rain of 1st September 2009.



World Health Organization (WHO)


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