20 February 2018

West Africa: 3 Years After Ebola, West Africa's Response to Epidemics Is On

The West Africa Regional Centre for Surveillance and Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCSDC)-the region's response to managing and preventing epidemics-goes operational in Abuja on Wednesday, nearly three years after heads of regional governments approved it in 2015.

The West African Health Organisation announced on Tuesday the centre will work with member states in the region to "assure the health security" of West Africa.

Heads of governments across the region are unanimous in their decision to have Nigeria host the centre to strengthen the region's capacity to prevent, detect and control epidemics.

The decision came after West Africa struggle against the region's first-ever outbreak of Ebola viral disease and lessons learnt from dealing the virus between in 2014, which infected nearly 20,000 people and claimed more than 11,000 lives.

ECOWAS-RCSDC will serve a specialised agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the authority of WAHO.

WAHO worked with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which has hosted the centre since its establishment, to speed up working getting ECOWAS-RCSDC operational

ECOWAS-RCSDC already has recruited staff and developed a workplan for 2018.

Togolese health minister, who chairs the ECOWAS assembly of health minister, alongside Nigeria's health minister Isaac Adewole will officiate at the formal launch of RSCDC headquarters in Abuja.

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