At least 60 health personnel drawn from across the country on Friday concluded a five-day training on disease surveillance and contact tracing.
The training, held at Tendaba Camp in Kiang Central District, Lower River Region, attracted regional health directors, public and community health workers. It was organised by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through its Epidemiology and Disease Control Unit (EDC), and is part of activities of the implementation of the World Bank-funded Maternal Child Nutrition and Health Result Project (MCNHRP).
Alhagie Sankareh, the Health Service Director of Western Health Region One, and member of the Project Implementation Committee of MCNHRP, gave an overview of the health project.
He informed the gathering that the project was first piloted in the North Bank and later scaled up in the Central River and Upper River regions.
“In 2014, the Ministry of Health made a request to the donor for additional financing to replicate MCNHRP. The World Bank responded with additional financing of 250,000 US Dollars committed to WHO and then moved to MOHSW through the funding of the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) to support activities relating to national Ebola response and other infectious diseases,” he explained.
Sankareh indicated that the additional financing is broad and that it is with the goal to strengthen the health system with specific objectives social mobilisation (development and distribution of communication materials), case management and disease surveillances. “It is in this regard, the project under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare signed an MOU with World Health Organisation to implement sub-components 1 and 2. The Epidemiology Disease Control Unit under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is also with the task to implement the third sub-component on disease surveillance activities with oversight from the National Ebola Task Force,” Health Service Director further stated.
Abdoulie Camara, a Public Health Emergency and Disaster Focal person at the MOHSW posited that integrated disease surveillance and contact tracing is very important especially in the case of disease outbreak. But for it to be effective, he pointed out, it demands that right channel of communication is followed and adhered to.
Disease surveillance, he went on, is not a one man show rather it requires collaboration and collective efforts of community health workers as well laboratory technicians, clinicians and the community.
Momodou Lamin Manneh, the Regional Director of Health Service based in Mansakonko thanked the Health Ministry and World Bank through EDC for what he described as very important forum.
“The Ebola outbreak has taught about the importance or the ability of what contact tracing can do in the case of disease outbreak,” he stated.
Manneh thus encouraged participants to make the best use of the forum and to share with their colleagues the knowledge gained.
by Salifu M. Touray in LRR