The Government of Sierra Leone is this week holding a three-day Universal Health and Preparedness Review high-level meeting in the country’s capital, Freetown.
The aim of the Universal Health and Preparedness Review is to establish high-level capacity for health emergency preparedness, based on the principles of universal health coverage and mutual accountability among countries. It is a voluntary, transparent, country-led peer review mechanism that aims to establish a regular intergovernmental dialogue between countries on their respective national capacities for health emergency preparedness.
Sierra Leone is the first country in West Africa, the second in Africa and the fifth globally to undertake the pilot of this review.
“What we learnt from Ebola is rather than chasing a virus, you should strategically position yourself, so you are ahead of it,” says Honorable Dr Austin H. Demby, Minister of Health and Sanitation. “World Health Organization and other partners, through this review process, will support the country to position itself so we can better anticipate and prevent emergencies from happening in the first place.”
Sierra Leone has made significant progress in health security and universal health coverage as part of its recovery from the shock of Ebola virus disease outbreak nearly a decade ago, the COVID-19 pandemic and other health emergencies. As such it is uniquely positioned to undertake this review and serve as a model for other countries.
“Preparedness is key to mitigating the impact of health emergencies,” says Dr Lindiwe Makubalo, WHO Assistant Regional Director for the African Region. “This review will provide us with a platform to learn about best practices in preparedness and response, and how we can improve preparedness efforts generally. WHO reaffirms its strong commit to partner with the Government of Sierra Leone to keep people safe and serve the vulnerable.”
The expected outcomes from the Universal Health and Preparedness Review are a commitment by the government and its partners to provide adequate resources for health, using a whole of government and society approach to preparing for and responding to health emergencies.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization – Sierra Leone.