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Strong health systems critical in addressing health threats in the African Region

Brazzaville, 8 April 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has called on the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Congo to advocate with their national governments to strengthen health systems to be able to address the health challenges facing the African Region.
She briefed the diplomats about the on-going Ebola epidemic in West Africa, current and emerging health threats in the WHO African Region, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the strategic priorities for WHO’s work in the Region for 2015-2020.
The Regional Director underscored the importance of strong national health systems to be able to withstand epidemics and emergencies while delivering essential health services to people who need them most.
Dr Moeti pointed out that the Ebola epidemic has had devastating impacts on families, livelihoods, security, health workforce, service delivery and overall socioeconomic development of the severely affected countries. Finishing the epidemic and strengthening capacity to support health security, preparedness and response to epidemics and emergencies is the first priority of the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
Referring to some of the lessons learnt so far from the Ebola outbreak, Dr Moeti said: “Early warning systems and community-based surveillance is essential for early detection, notification and timely response.” She placed emphasis on community dialogue, equitable access of communities to health infrastructures and the commitments of international stakeholders as key in controlling major public health events.

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