Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – During the recent launch of Sierra Leone’s National Public Health Agency (NPHA), set to enhance rapid responses to disease outbreaks, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), reflected on the country’s history of grappling with various health emergencies.
Dr. Ghebreyesus emphasized Sierra Leone’s struggle with multiple health crises in the past, including outbreaks of diseases like Ebola, Covid-19, Measles, Cholera, and Hepatitis, affecting a substantial population. Speaking through a video played during the agency’s unveiling, he commended the establishment of the NPHA, recognizing it as a significant step in addressing these challenges.
Expressing his observation on Sierra Leone’s National Public Health Agency, Dr. Ghebreyesus highlighted the prolonged efforts involved in its creation. He conveyed to President Julius Maada Bio and stakeholders that the agency would serve as a foundational institution, bolstering scientific leadership, medical expertise, and training in the country’s healthcare system.
President Bio and health ministry officials, along with donor partners, underscored the agency’s mission to safeguard Sierra Leoneans’ health through evidence-based, multidisciplinary approaches. The objectives aim to predict, prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats and emergencies swiftly.
British High Commissioner Lisa Chesney emphasized the critical importance of analyzing medical data and skills training as the agency prepares for full operational readiness. She encouraged officials and the president, remarking on Sierra Leone’s proactive stance toward sustainable development while urging preparedness to face unforeseen challenges, humorously noting in Krio dialect, “tie wi oja,” meaning being even more prepared than before.
Referencing former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s idea of a globally interconnected world, Chesney highlighted the UK’s commitment to supporting innovations in Sierra Leone’s public health and other sectors, acknowledging the need for international collaboration in promoting advancements in healthcare. AJ/17/12/2023