LeadBoosting Health Security: One Health Strategy in West & Central Africa

Boosting Health Security: One Health Strategy in West & Central Africa

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Washington- December 2023- The World Bank Board has approved a Health Security Program for Western and Central Africa, allocating $500 million in IDA financing for a multiphase operation. The initiative, encompassing Cabo Verde, Guinea, Liberia, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), aims to strengthen collaboration and elevate health system capacities in the prevention, detection, and response to health emergencies.

In the first phase, the program will adopt a “One Health approach,” recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and ecosystem health. Focusing on pandemics, antimicrobial resistance, and climate-related challenges, the program prioritizes gender-related risks and equity. Its goal is to shore up systems for approximately 627 million people, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups such as infants, children, adolescents, mothers, and the elderly.

Moreover, The program, which leverages financing from partners like the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents, and the Pandemic Fund, aims to reduce exposure to zoonotic diseases among livestock farmers and the general population.

To consolidate country networks and regional health agendas, ECOWAS will receive support to enhance institutional capacities. The program also seeks to establish standardized regulations for the handling and transfer of biological materials, promote data and information sharing, and coordinate prevention and detection efforts.

Also Read: New Initiative Aims to Strengthen Health Cooperation Between Africa and the Caribbean

“By investing in regional collaboration and strengthening health systems’ capacities, the new regional program will ensure resilient and responsive health systems in the face of health emergencies across Western and Central Africa”, said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration in Africa and the Middle East. “It will build and sustain efforts to prevent outbreaks from becoming epidemics or pandemics and will prioritize prevention, detection of health emergencies, and effective responses at community, national, and regional levels, ensuring a swift and coordinated approach”.
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