Updating Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness and Response Plans in Liberia
Frequently, emerging pandemic threats begin as local public health events (PHE). A PHE is an occurence that results in serious illness, has the capacity to spread, and requires a coordinated response. Without a coordinated response, critical delays occur in detection, reporting, investigation, and testing.
Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak, Liberia has worked closely with partner organizations like P&R to update their existing Ebola-specific preparedness and response plans to better respond to future public health events of an initially unknown etiology. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) PHE framework serves as a concise technical and managerial guiding document for multi-sectoral preparedness and response to public health events. P&R uses the framework as a tool to help countries understand where they have capacity gaps, while also showing them the value of a coordinated One Health approach to outbreak preparedness and response.
This December, the P&R national One Health advisor in Liberia (NOHTSA) provided technical expertise in the design and development of a Liberian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA)-organized workshop, funded by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), to upgrade existing Ebola virus disease preparedness and response plans. The upgrades included expanding them into multi-hazard plans and better integrating multi-sector One Health coordination and communication.
The P&R NOHTA presented and served as a co-facilitator, alongside experts from the Armed Forces of Liberia and UNMIL. More than 80 representatives from 15 counties participated.