Liberia and Sierra Leone Launch One Health Platforms
In June, P&R organized and launched the first One Health platforms in West Africa. The platform launches are the result of the continuous P&R, USAID, and EPT-2 support in West Africa to the One Health approach – through technical guidance, multistakeholder facilitation, and collaborative institutional capacity building – since 2015.
On Friday, June 23, Sierra Leone Vice President Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh joined the Ministry of Health and Sanitation; the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security; the Environmental Protection Agency; and Office of National Security to launch the platform at a half-day event in Freetown. While delivering the keynote, Vice President Foh expressed his excitement at being part of history-making event, and congratulated the Ministry partners for taking the nation one step further to a country free of zoonotic disease.
In the last three decades, more than 75% of new human diseases are of animal origin. “This is a disturbing development to the human race, particularly for developing countries, where challenges in our healthcare delivery systems persist,” said Vice President Foh. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency officially launched the platform, to be chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo.
On Wednesday, June 28, Liberia launched the country’s One Health platform in Monrovia, during an event ending with a signing of a declaration of commitment to the institutionalization of One Health. The signing was endorsed by nine Government of Liberia ministers – Health, Agriculture, Internal Affairs (National Disaster Management Agency), Education, Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Information, Defense, and Justice – as well as the heads of the Forestry Development Authority, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Public Health Institute. The Vice President of Liberia serves as chair of the platform.
The launch of the Liberia platform represents a milestone in the Liberia Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) roadmap, creates momentum for the institutionalization of One Health, and underscores the commitment of the Government of Liberia to better address public health threats. Other international partners such as the Word Health Organization (WHO), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the PREDICT project and the World Bank also participated in platform development and launch.
The event was preceded by a meeting of technical directors to review the status of the One Health Implementation in the country. During the one-day meeting, directors presented the One Health institutional framework and Terms of Reference of the platform for final endorsement and review.