WHO: Health Partners Unite To Build Stronger Systems For Health In Ebola-Affected Countries

Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Ebola outbreak in West Africa – outbreak distribution map as of 29 October 2014.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Ebola outbreak in West Africa – outbreak distribution map as of 29 October 2014.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in a recent press release, said that Ministers of Health and Finance of Ebola-affected countries, international organizations and development partners assembled for a high-level meeting to decide on how to strengthen systems of health in Ebola-affected countries as well as find ways to rebuild and strengthen essential health services in these countries.

“People in Ebola-affected countries are dying – not only from Ebola but also from other causes – because the majority of health facilities in these countries are either not functional or people are not using them for fear of contracting Ebola,” says Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General of Health Systems and Innovation, World Health Organization. “A health system has to be able to both absorb the shock of an emergency like Ebola, and continue to provide regular health services such as immunization and maternal and child care.”

The report also said that participants at the meeting discussed the need to integrate all health services from clinical care to surveillance, health promotion, disease prevention and management, and palliative care.

“Given the movement of people across borders of the Ebola-affected countries, it will also be important to coordinate national health plans across borders and align surveillance systems,” the report further stated.

It also highlighted the following key areas for improvement:

  • significantly strengthening health workforce;
  • enhancing community trust, engagement, and ownership;
  • ensuring development of resilient sub-national health systems.

It also stated further that participants subscribed to the view that substantial external financing will be needed to address key areas for improvement and moreover said this should be coordinated under the leadership of the national governments and in accordance with national plans.

The meeting agreed that all sectors of government should be involved – notably health, finance and education.

Yvad Billings,Readers Bureau,Fellow

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