Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Human Pandemic Preparedness (H2P) Training Ends


Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) on Friday 8th January, 2010 ended a two-day training workshop aimed at enlightening people on the importance of Human Pandemic Preparedness.
The programme, which was held at the Baobab Holiday Resort in Kerr Serigne, brought together officials from the Information, Agriculture and Health Ministries.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Mamodou Bah, the Secretary General of The Gambia Red Cross said the Influenza Pandemic has grown over the past few years to become a global threat to lives and livelihoods.
He added that the virulent human flu has spread remarkably from East Asia to the rest of the world with outbreaks in all parts of Asia and some parts in Europe and Africa. He said the disease is air borne and can spread easily from one person to another, particularly in the absence of proper environmental sanitation and personal hygiene.
However, there are no cases reported in The Gambia so far but Mr. Bah stressed that there no room for complacency considering the nature of transmission and the spreading of the disease.
“Now is the right time for all stakeholders, government and non-governmental organisations to come together and build a strong defensive wall with a strong team of experts that will be proactive to handle incidences to prevent an outbreak,” he charged. He noted that GRCS being a voluntary organisation in the country has over 15000 registered members, covering every single community in the country. He noted that this has earned the National Society (GRCS) the capacity to cope and respond to health crisis, disasters and other vulnerable situations.
Mr. Bah noted that it is important for the country to be prepared to act timely, as prompt action could save many lives, citing that effective preparation require concerted efforts from all stakeholders in providing Information, Education and Communication services in disease surveillance.
On his part, Dr. Bekai Camara, Director of Health Services, said the Human Pandemic Preparedness (H2P) is base on the Comprehensive Plan Development in September 2007, in order to help The Gambia to prepare and make response to Avian and Human Influence (H5HN1).
Dr. Camara, who was speaking on behalf the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of health, explain the priority areas of the government and its partners undertaken to ensure the health, safety and security of her citizens in case a human pandemic occur.
“The planned priorities and response include coordination, surveillance, prevention and control, and communication,” he said.
He spelled out preparedness and emergency activities and the expected roles of various stakeholders, with envisage programmes that are to be adjusted as per resources demands and there priority actions.
“The interventions are to be carried out through the existing National Task Force on Human Pandemic and Response, while the office of the Vice President will coordinate the response of the pandemic through the Task Force,” he told participants.
According to him, Ministries such as Health, Social Welfare, Agriculture, the UN System and development partners like the Red Cross will to help the mobilize supplemental support in a form of technical and financial resource to sustain the response operations.
He noted that Influenza like illness is one of the many hazards facing The Gambia and the country has had of the recent experience with many human and animal health related emergencies including cholera and the locust outbreak.
Dr Camara also said H2P training represents a set of steps that will take us to respond to the threats of the pandemic when it reaches to our shores, while challenging the Red Cross to commit itself to extending what he called a simultaneous exercise across all regions in the country. VOL:2 ISSN:19

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