Integrating Animal and Human Health Surveillance in Liberia
The World Bank will be providing the Government of Liberia with a $30 million line of credit through REDISSE to support animal and human health surveillance, preparedness and response, and laboratory capacity. At the REDISSE Workshop, P&R, in conjunction with PREDICT2, ensured that wildlife and animal health were considered in the planning for new national surveillance systems and that animal health and wildlife professionals would be included as part of Rapid Response Teams.
P&R worked with Liberia’s Forest Development Authority (FDA), which oversees wildlife, to participate in REDISSE planning at the suggestion of the ministries of Health and Agriculture. P&R also conducted a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis for the REDISSE proposal to identify surveillance and preparedness gaps and suggest surveillance systems that could be used within the FDA system. P&R also assisted Ministry of Agriculture in identifying its priorities within the available REDISSE funding and develop a one-year work plan. P&R facilitated meetings with the ministries of Health, Agriculture and others to reduce cost and realize efficiencies in integrating animal health surveillance and laboratory data into a human health information platform currently being piloted.
Still, Liberia is a country with significant needs. The ministries of Agriculture and Health and the Forestry Development Authority have expressed their commitment to One Health; however, at this time, Agriculture and Forestry cannot act as equal partners to the Ministry of Health as neither organization has the data, trained personnel, or logistical resources to contribute to One Health collaborative activities. On the other hand, multiple funding sources are supporting Ministry of Health’s health systems strengthening including in surveillance, laboratory capacity, and preparedness and response. Agriculture and Forestry need substantial investments to build their systems and their capabilities to prepare for outbreak events, prevent on-going animal health issues, provide accurate and timely surveillance data, and respond to events once they occur. With respect to animal health issues, each organization is under resourced and lack capacity. Specifically, neither has an active surveillance system, a fully operational veterinary laboratory, and the capacity to readily respond to an outbreak. In addition, they lack animal health personnel; there is only one veterinarian at the Ministry of Agriculture and none at the FDA. In the coming months, P&R will work with the Government of Liberia to establish a One Health Steering Committee and support the inclusion of One Health in other existing initiatives.