Liberia concludes a three-day workshop to review National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) Implementation and progress since 2017

Monrovia, The Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from World Health Organization (WHO) and Partners have concluded a three-day workshop to review the implementation progress and challenges of the National Action Plan for Health Security in Liberia since its development in 2017.

The meeting which took place from 16 – 18 August 2021 at the Golden Gate Hotel, Paynesville City in Montserrado County brought together over ninety (90) participants from 19 technical areas including representatives from line ministries: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Labor, EPI, EPA, the legislature, NPHIL, County Health Officers, media houses and experts from partners, including FAO, World Bank, US-CDC, USAID, IRC, AFENET, and WHO. The face to face meeting was done in observance of COVID-19 SOPs; hand hygiene, use of masks and small working breakaway groups.

NAPHS is a strategic multi-sectoral government led 5-year plan that sets out objectives and activities in 19 technical areas required for improving in health security under the themes; Prevent, Detect, and respond. The goal of the NAPHS is to strengthen core capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to any public health threats.

During the conduct of Joint External Evaluation in 2016, Liberia’s preparedness capacity and capabilities was put at 46%. Thus, it was recommended that countries including Liberia conduct periodic monitoring to guide implementation and progress towards attainment of the IHR 2005 core capacities.

In his inaugural address on behalf of the Honorable Minister of Health, Deputy Minister for Planning, Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation, Varfee Tulay thanked WHO and partners for their continuous support. He emphasized the importance of a One Health approach towards accelerating the health security of Liberia.

“The NAPHS evaluation comes at a critical point in time when the Ministry of Health is also undertaking a review and development of key National documents that include; the new national health policy and strategic plans (EPHS, National financing strategy, National quality of health strategy and National Health Policy and Plan therefore, outcomes from the NAPHS evaluation will – inform the ongoing Policy review” Min. Tulay said.

WHO Country Representative (a.i) Dr. Zabulon Yoti applauded the government and the NPHIL leadership on creating an environment where all partners and stakeholders can come together and collaborate as one body to improve the health security of Liberia.

“I urge members to use this timely opportunity to critically analyze those areas that need improvement to enable timely detection, and response to both internal and cross-border threats” Dr. Yoti said.

He pledged WHO’s continued support both technical, financial, and other resources to ensure Liberia’s success in achieving the objectives of the NAPHS.

For her part, Dr. Rachel Idowu, US-CDC Country Director said the National Action Plan for Health Security offers the Government of the Republic of Liberia, represented by the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, an opportunity to re-establish its understanding of how Liberia builds upon the successful accomplishments following recovery from the 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic. “Successful maturation and strengthening of the public health care system in Liberia requires an honest appraisal of the gaps and challenges that yet remain” Dr. Idowu added.

Other institutions that made remarks during the review including FAO, USAID and IRC pledged their institutions commitment to working with the Ministry of Health in ensuring the objectives of NAPHS are achieved.

The sessions included presentations from the 19 technical areas: Legislature, Coordination, Antimicrobial resistance, Zoonotic diseases, Food safety, Biosafety and Biosecurity, Surveillance, Reporting, Preparedness, Emergency response and Risk communication among others.

Participants reviewed the objectives, indicators, activities, and implementation status presented under each area. Furthermore, a review of the previous JEE scores under each indicator were reviewed and the new scores allocated during the internal evaluation exercise evaluated using the WHO Benchmarks tool. A follow up meeting for mapping resources to further strengthen IHR is expected to take place next week.

Source: World Health Organization. Africa