Home NewsAfrica COVID-19, 40 other outbreaks top regional diseases in 2021WAHO

COVID-19, 40 other outbreaks top regional diseases in 2021WAHO

by Haruna Gimba

By Iyemah David

The West African Health Organization (WAHO), says the year 2021 regional health situation featured COVID-19 across all Member States, with 40 incidences of epidemic outbreaks.

WAHO Director General, Professor Staley Okoro, said this in an interview on Wednesday in Accra, Ghana on the sideline of High-level Meeting with vaccines Manufacturers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The meeting was organised by WAHO in collaboration with Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), to accelerate local manufacturing of quality vaccines and medicines in the West Africa region.

Prof. Okoro said that the 40 incidences comprised of cholera, Dengue fever, Ebola Fever, Lassa fever, Marburg fever, Measles, Meningitis, Monkey pox, Poliomyelitis (cVDPV2), Rift Valley fever and yellow fever as well as other health challenges causing morbidity and mortality.

He disclosed that with a total approved budget of $60 million, WAHO carried out in 2021 initiatives aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemics and other epidemics, as well as improving regional health outcomes in various areas including maternal and child health, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, pharmaceuticals quality standards and Centres of excellence, health information, research and capacity building.

He highlighted some key achievements in the year 2021, as four meetings of the COVID-19 Ministerial Coordinating Committee were held, out of which, practical recommendations and actions were agreed.

Okoro also stated that the WAHO strategic plan defined as the WAHO Vision 2030, was developed and adopted by the Assembly of ECOWAS Health Ministers.

“The strategy presents a 10-year road map to guide programs delivery and operations of WAHO in delivering on its mandate as the ECOWAS regional health institution.

“The twenty second Assembly of ECOWAS Health Ministers (AHM), was held in 2021 and a series of resolutions were adopted by AHM to advance the regional health agenda,” he explained.

Prof. Okoro added that the WAHO COVID-19 response plan was executed across the pillars of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), risk communication, case management, laboratory capacity, and epidemiology.

He said that WAHO Increased Family Planning uptake, strengthen member state capacity to manage the supply of and access to FP products particularly geared towards harnessing the demographic dividend of the ECOWAS region.

He said a directive was developed in furtherance of the initiative to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). 

The director general stressed that WAHO’s programs have continued to evolve, ensuring that all its interventions responded to prioritized health needs and were in alignment with global, regional and sub-regional health priorities, resolutions, treaties and commitments.

WAHO originates from the merger of the Organisation of Cooperation and Coordination for the Fight against Major Endemic Diseases- OCCGE and the West African Health Community (WAHC).

It was established by Heads of State of the 15 member countries as the Community Specialized Institution tasked with tackling health problems within the region.

Health Reporters learnt that since 2020, WAHO has been in the forefront of the regional COVID-19 response, in addition to providing support toward addressing other essential health issues of significant importance to member states and at risk of neglect as a result of refocusing and redirection of resources for COVID-19 pandemic.

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