WHO sets up regional emergency hub to boost health disasters response

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 24, 2023
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NAIROBI, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday established a health emergency hub in Kenya to help respond to emergencies and disasters in eastern and southern Africa.

Susan Nakhumicha Wafula, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health, said during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the hub is a huge resource to Kenya given that the country is faced with an increasing number of health emergencies ranging from disease outbreaks such as the ongoing cholera outbreak in Kenya and the recent outbreak of Marburg virus disease in the region.

"These emergencies pose major health, social, economic and security risks that threaten to reverse years of health and development progress in Africa," Nakhumicha said.

She lauded the WHO for the support, adding that over the past three years, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of preparedness and response in the face of health emergencies.

Nukhumicha said that Kenya is further collaborating with the WHO in developing disease-specific contingency plans, including viral hemorrhagic fevers, pandemic influenza, cholera, Rift Valley fever and polio.

She noted that through the partnership with the WHO, Kenya will have access to the UN health agency's global network of experts, knowledge and resources. The hub will enable Kenya to build on the progress already made toward achieving universal health coverage in Kenya.

Abdourahmane Diallo, the WHO country representative in Kenya, said that the new innovative initiative is aimed at improving the capacities of African countries to respond in real-time to increasingly numerous and complex health emergencies.

Diallo noted that the WHO regional office for Africa is strengthening and expanding the emergencies hub to coordinate high-quality responses to health emergencies in Kenya and other eastern and southern African countries.

He said that the hub will serve as a modern storage center for essential medical equipment and consumables that will ensure timely logistical support to countries with emergencies in eastern and southern Africa. It is expected to house a center of excellence specialized in capacity building in health and crisis emergency management.

The hub would allow the WHO to effectively and swiftly support Kenya and all eastern and southern African countries by maintaining stockpiles of medical and logistical supplies, training multi-disciplinary teams of human-resource to serve as Africa's elite emergency experts to ensure quick deployment during public health and humanitarian emergencies in Kenya and Africa as a whole. Enditem

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