Building Niger’s capacity to respond to health emergencies – Le Sahel

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The Minister of Health, Population and Social Affairs, Mr Iliassou Idi Maassara, and the WHO Representative in Niger, Ms Anya Blanche-Philomène Melanga signed a protocol agreement on Friday 29 April 2022 in Niamey on the implementation of the “Reinforcement and use of emergency groups” known by the English acronym “SURGE”. This USD 2 million memorandum of understanding has a duration of two years, namely 2022 and 2023. SURGE aims to help strengthen, integrate preparedness and response to emergencies in countries.

The specific objectives of the project are to set up at the level

trained local multidisciplinary personnel cadres, improving preparedness and response coordination capacity at national and sub-national levels, strengthening existing infrastructure for rapid and effective emergency response at regional, national and sub-national levels. This project is an important opportunity to strengthen the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (COUSP) recently established by the Ministry of Health, Population and Social Affairs.

According to the Minister responsible for Health, a WHO mission visited Niger in February 2022 to present the SURGE project to stakeholders and try to understand the country’s context, identify strengths, gaps and opportunities. . the plan for the deployment of said project. “Following the various discussions with the authorities and the technical work sessions, a roadmap has been drawn up for the first year,” he says. In addition, Minister Illiassou Idi Maassara recalled that the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has reinforced the need to strengthen the capacity of countries to prevent, detect, and prepare for public health emergencies. prepare and respond. “Following key recommendations at the global level and to help translate them into concrete actions, the WHO Regional Office for Africa has decided to fund flagship projects aimed at strengthening the capacity of all Member States to prepare for , detect and respond to public health emergencies,” he said.

For her part, the WHO representative said that the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the WHO aims to reaffirm the commitment of the two sides to work together to end the suffering of the victimized population of Niger, to alleviate these various disasters.

The WHO representative explained that four main pillars had been established to enable the mobilization of resources and respond to public health emergencies within 24 to 48 hours of initiation. “The four pillars are human resource development to ensure the availability of committed, trained and deployable multidisciplinary health personnel at national and sub-national levels, response preparedness and coordination to support the planning and cohesion actions of ministries, partner institutions and civil society organisations, operations and logistical support to ensure rapid and effective deployment of emergency supplies and human resources, as well as procurement, transportation and distribution at the national and sub-national levels, and risk communication and community mobilization to ensure information about public health threats is communicated to all relevant parties in a transparent and timely manner, and that communities are consulted, engaged and informed on how to reduce their risks and better protect themselves,” she said.

Ms Anya Blanche-Philomène Melanga recalled that in order to steer the actions of different stakeholders, a roadmap with 24 crucial activities with a timetable for the period from March to April 2022 had been drawn up. “For the concretization and launch of this project, The WHO is providing the government with an initial $1 million USD, eight (8) 4×4 vehicles and medical equipment, drugs and consumables worth nearly US $250,000 will be made available to this multidisciplinary team to provide it with the capacity to respond within 24 to 48 hours of reporting a health event,” she concluded.

Mamane Abdoulaye (onep)

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