In November 2016, USAID co-sponsored One Health Technical and Ministerial Meetings in Dakar, with the West African Health Organization (WAHO) arm of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE). The goal of the workshop was to foster the institutionalization and the ownership of the One Health approach in all participating West African countries to improve regional prevention, detection and response to emerging infectious diseases.
As part of the preparation for the Dakar meetings, P&R country national One Health Advisors worked with WHO, FAO, OIE and CDC to share One Health information, provide additional guidance, and work with country delegates from different ministries to meet and jointly prepare their participation as a country team. In Guinea, P&R organized, with the WHO, a joint pre-meeting workshop to share with members of the delegation the objectives of the approach in the country. In Mali, P&R responded to government and USAID requests for P&R to support the revision and update of the national zoonotic disease policy and plan, and facilitated a stakeholders’ orientation and consultative workshop in which members of Mali delegation participated and contributed to the development of a consensus on a national One Health framework and an operational plan for its implementation. In Cote d’Ivoire, P&R identified participants from stakeholder ministries, and helped define the country’s multisectoral progress made toward establishing a GHSA and One Health coordination platform. In Sierra Leone and Liberia, P&R developed briefing presentations for the delegations on One Health for each of the breakout sessions.
Prior to the Dakar meeting, P&R has also worked with WAHO on supporting ECOWAS in strengthening national and regional mechanisms for surveillance, early warning, preparedness and response to epidemics. WAHO, as one of the main components of the new ECOWAS Regional Centre for Disease Surveillance and Control, had decided to establish an ECOWAS Regional Rapid Response Team (ERRRT), with P&R providing important technical and facilitation support to organize an ERRRT Team Building Workshop. More than 100 delegates from 15 countries and partner organizations, including CDC, WHO, FAO, OIE, and the African Union reviewed and developed a consensus on the ERRRT composition, terms of references (TOR), standard operating procedures (SOPs), and resources needed during pre-deployment, deployment and recovery phases. P&R also designed and facilitated a tabletop simulation exercise on regional cross-border response to a zoonotic disease outbreak, providing guidance on ways to integrate the One Health approach throughout the process.
Based on the success of the ERRRT development and the November technical and ministerial meetings, P&R will continue to provide guidance to WAHO as it develops the ECOWAS One Health implementation framework – and support individual countries in implementing the action plan – to build a truly regional multisectoral mechanism for West Africa in the prevention, detection and response to a public health event.