By Makutu Manneh
The Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, on Monday February 10th 2020, presided over the finalization of a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) in the Gambia.
During the opening of the five day training, Dr. Samateh said strong and resilient health systems are necessary to support the country’s response to public health emergencies.
“Multi sectorial commitment, collaboration and coordination approaches are required both nationally and internationally, between health and relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Chairing the meeting at Bwiam, the Health Minister further said NAPHS is an inclusive multi sectorial collaborative time frame map to achieve the objectives of strengthening the health system within the country and as emergency response to public health threats in order to minimize both health and economic consequences.
Speaking to stakeholders, the Minister said NAPHS seeks to establish and strengthen core capacities by adopting strategies, establishing priorities and implementing activities which are intended to close identified gaps, with the goal of preventing avoidable epidemics and reducing morbidity, disabilities, mortality and socio-economic costs.
“A resilient health system will guarantee the continuation and consistent delivery of quality health services in the country,” he said; that Gambia is no exception to risks of diseases and events that are of public health significance at national, regional and global levels.
Minister Samateh further stated that Member States and State Parties have agreed to work together to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats according to International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005; that some achievements have been made from the inception of IHR implementation in the country. He thanked WHO for their support and full participation in producing a good NAPHS.
Alpha Jallow who represented WHO at the gathering, said Gambia is making significant advances in the implementation of IHR 2005.
“Gambia as a country is making tremendous efforts to finalize the NAPHS development and this is a resource mapping exercise that will eventually help the country strengthen the nineteen capacities identified in the recommendation of the Joint External Evaluation (2007) Report to prevent, detect and rapidly respond to public health threats in the country,” he said.