Paynesville - Vice President Joseph Boakai, in his capacity as Chairman of the ‘One Health Coordinator Platform (OHCP) has endorsed the declaration of commitment to institutionalize the one health approach in Liberia.
The Declaration of Commitment was signed by representatives of line ministries and agencies at the official launch in June, 2017.
The OHCP underscores the government of Liberia’s commitment to address issues relating to potential threats of re-emerging diseases of public health globally by strengthening multi-sectoral collaborations; while the One Health approach is a proactive, integrated approach that calls for multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary engagement across the human, animal (including wildlife) and environmental health sectors to better predict, prevent, detect and respond to interconnected health threats affecting animal, human and ecosystem domains.
In brief remarks right after signing the Declaration of Commitment for One Health coordination at the first national one health platform meeting on Monday, October 9 in Paynesville, Vice President Boakai noted that the government is now positioned strategically to deal effectively with potential public health incidents that have the potential to escalate into epidemic situations.
The Vice President noted that one of the strategies to get the country to better deal with any major public health event is the institutionalization of the One Health approach in the form of a coordination to productively facilitate the collaboration of multi-sector entities in addressing those public health issues that cannot be solved by a single sector.
“This signing of the Declaration of Commitment for One Health Coordination speaks to our Government’s support to this institutionalization process. We endorsed the objectives of the platform and its supporting committees and would facilitate the collaboration of multi-sector entities in addressing public health issues that cannot be solved by a single sector.”
“It is my hope that with this national one health platform functional, we now have a robust national mechanism for inter-sectoral coordination and partnership to facilitate better harmonization and sharing of information amongst animal, human and environmental health sectors in accordance with the required One Health approach,” the Vice President said.
He further averred that following the Ebola outbreak in 2014 which killed more than 11,000 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the one health approach was proposed as a strategy to harness the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain an optimal health for people, animals, plants and the environment.
Calling for the need to embrace the one health approach, the Vice President noted that there is high interaction between human and animals in the West African region, adding that about 75 percent of emerging infectious in recent years has come from animals directly or through animal products.
The meeting was attended by major stakeholders in the health sector including officials of line ministries and agencies, as well as national and international nongovernmental organizations.
Mr. Tolbert G. Nyenswah, the Director General of the National Public health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) asserted that the specific objectives of the meeting were to update participants on the progress and challenges encountered in the implementation of the One health approach in Liberia and to discuss the membership and structure of OHCP; as well as the responsibilities of various collaborating parties.
Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn, Agriculture Minister Seklau Wiles, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Darlington Tuagben and the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency Anyaa Vohiri, attending the meeting all pledged their support to the platform.