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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Ecowas health chief praises Gambia’s Ebola prevention efforts

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Speaking at a news conference shortly after meeting Vice President Njie-Saidy at the conference room of the health ministry, he said: “Waho is a health institution for the Ecowas region working for the 15 member states and among our programme priorities is coordination and harmonisation of policies and programmes of health. Health information and promotion of best practices from one country to another through sharing are key for Waho. We are also working with countries on the development of human resources for health, promotion of traditional medicine, vaccines and the diversification of the health financing mechanism. These are the areas Waho is working to support member states. What we are doing is to support Waho countries to promote health through regional integration and solidarity. Our mission is to show regional integration and solidarity to all the countries affected by Ebola. We are here to focus on other countries to help them better respond to this Ebola virus outbreak in our region. For us at Waho, one case of Ebola in one country is a regional public health problem and concern for all the countries.

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“What we are doing is to help the countries have a ministerial body which is the case in The Gambia. We also help countries to have national preparedness and response plans where all the partners are involved from the beginning of the process and this is the case also in The Gambia.  We also work on a very high-level commitment to implement the activities in this area which is also the case in The Gambia. We are very pleased to be in this country to show the solidarity of Ecowas with this country. We are also very pleased to see and hear what the government is doing so far. We are happy about the high commitment of the head of state and the government. I have just attended a meeting with the vice president and I see the political commitment of the government. I must congratulate the head of state and government of The Gambia for the good job they have done in this area.  We are here in an Ebola-free country thanks to God and all the activities you have done in the area of hygiene and sanitation, behavioural change, epidemiology surveillance and control of borders. You have done many activities and we are here to assess those activities and our assessment is very good from what we have seen and heard so far.”

Asked what support The Gambia could expect from Waho in the face of the Ebola outbreak, he replied: “Waho has been working with the government well before this outbreak, so we are working very closely with the Ministry of Health to strengthen the whole health surveillance system. We have our regional health project here funded by one of our partners to strengthen the epidemiology surveillance system. We are helping countries in order to share key information on health. Waho is also working closely with the ministry in resource mobilisation but Waho is not a financial agency.

“I am very pleased with what I have seen and heard since my arrival in The Gambia at the airport which is the first point if you visit a country. In the area of hygiene, the country is doing well. The Gambia has shown solidarity with the countries affected by Ebola by providing financial support to Liberia and Sierra Leone which is a very important initiative. I had to mention that because it is very important to help your neighbours in crisis. I hope The Gambia will stay free from Ebola.”

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