Two hundred copies of the American Public Health Association’s Control of Communicable Diseases manual were presented to healthcare and medical personnel, at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. The donation was made possible through the efforts of a set of twins, Sadia and Suba Demby, who’s parents, Dr. Austin Demby and Dr. Mamadi Yilla contributed to the guide. Dr. Demby was instrumental in the Ebola response and is a recipient of the Africa America Institute 2018 award. “To know that this donation is coming from two American teenagers with Sierra Leonean roots, is heartwarming and inspiring. They did not grow up in Sierra Leone but they have demonstrated they are Sierra Leoneans,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Amara Jambai. The 19-year old twins are Harvard University students and co-founders of the Rhythm of the World Foundation, which seeks to invest in African healthcare. The sharing and use of the manuals will further support the United States government’s efforts in Sierra Leone to implement a One Health platform. Dr. Jambai of MOHS confessed that the Ebola epidemic revealed how fragile the country’s healthcare system was and frontline workers and healthcare workers bore the full brunt of the outbreak. He added that facilities around the country unfortunately were ill equipped to meet the challenges. Dr. Jambai commended the donors for their initiative. He furthered that the manual is an authoritative source of reliable information that is now in its 20th edition, and will be updated periodically to provide new information.
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The United States Charge de Affaires in Sierra Leone, Tomeka Burl, said the United States is committed to achieving the Global Health Security Agenda targets and will continue the collaboration to enhance the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to public health. She disclosed the US in collaboration with the government of Sierra Leone has formally launched the National Action Plan for Health Security in September 2019. The implementation of the action plan will enable the country to prevent outbreaks and other public health hazards, build national capacities for early detection and effective response, including surveillance and foster all sector-partnerships for effective prevention, detection and response to public health emergencies. Tomeka Burl noted, “The EPI manual will bring Sierra Leone one step closer to meeting its Global Health Security Agenda.”
By Ade Campbell
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