Liberia and Sierra Leone Launch One Health Platforms

Government officials and partners at the launch of the National One Health platform in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Government officials and partners at the launch of the National One Health platform in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh, Vice President of Sierra Leone, is seated at the center and dressed in black. Irene Koek, USAID's Deputy Assistant Administrator for Global Health, is seated at the far left.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Kate Zimmerman/DAI

During the last week in June, both Liberia and Sierra Leone officially launched their One Health platforms. This effort, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Preparedness and Response Project, seeks to bring together key sectors in the fight against infectious disease outbreaks in support of the implementation of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA). Since many human diseases have their origins in animals, it is necessary for different sectors to work together in detecting, preventing, mitigating and responding to disease outbreaks. Encouraging and facilitating collaboration among representatives from the human, animal and environmental health fields with a One Health focus/approach can strengthen countries’ capacity to respond effectively to infectious diseases outbreaks.

While delivering his keynote speech, Sierra Leon Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh expressed his excitement at being part of such an historic event and congratulated ministry partners for taking the nation one step further to freeing the country of zoonotic diseases – diseases that can jump from animals to humans. In the last three decades, more than 75 percent of new human diseases have originated in animals. “This is a disturbing development to humans, particularly for developing countries, where challenges in our healthcare delivery systems persist,” Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh said.

Liberia and Sierra Leone were at the epicenter of the 2014 Ebola outbreak. Many lives were lost during that epidemic, while the health systems of both countries suffered major setbacks in being able to address the health needs of their populations. As two of the first West African countries to launch national One Health platforms, Liberia and Sierra Leone show their commitment to strengthen their capacity to prepare and respond to outbreaks in a timely manner. USAID’s Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Irene Koek was among the officials who attended the One Health platform launch in Sierra Leone.

Last updated: July 05, 2017

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