Deputy Minister of Health 1, Professor Dr. Charles Senessie, highlighted Sierra Leone’s significant progress in combating communicable and non-communicable diseases during the ongoing Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva.

The meeting, spanning from February 13 to February 14, focuses on fostering intergovernmental dialogue among Member States to strengthen national capacities for health emergencies and disaster preparedness. Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergency Programme, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, delivered crucial statements during the launch of the global peer review of the Central African Republic and Portugal. Sierra Leone, along with Iraq, the Central African Republic, Thailand, and Portugal, expressed commitment to finalize the piloting cycle after completing the national review phase between December 2021 and September 2023.

Deputy Minister Senessie underscored Sierra Leone’s advancements in global emergency responses, specifically addressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic. He shared insights and best practices and expressed gratitude to participating countries for their comprehensive national reports. Recognizing the governance initiatives of the Central African Republic, Dr. Senessie recommended strategic measures, including formulating a multisectoral health recovery plan and fostering collaboration with non-health sector stakeholders to enhance preparedness and response to events/outbreaks of national and international concern.

The Deputy Health Minister commended the Central African Republic’s resilience in managing the aftermath of the 2013 crisis, which significantly impacted health facilities. The Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) pilot countries, including Sierra Leone, are using draft working methods as a blueprint for the inaugural peer review pilot scheduled for February 2024.

On Portugal, Deputy Health Minister 1 thanked the government of Portugal for its impressive national report. Dr. Senessie recommended measures such as addressing structural drought problems in Alentejo and Algarve regions, ensuring the sustainability of vaccination programs for future outbreaks, tackling challenges to achieving equitable healthcare access, and establishing mechanisms to mitigate perennial flooding. He also emphasized analyzing the effectiveness of different data collection methods, maintaining collaboration with non-health stakeholders, and providing information on legislative gaps, data-sharing challenges, and accessibility issues for vulnerable populations.

Additionally, he proposed establishing a dedicated budget line for preparedness. It is expected that the Universal Health and Preparedness Review (UHPR) report of Sierra Leone will be peer-reviewed by member states shortly. The Deputy Minister was accompanied by Professor Foday Sahr, Executive Director of the National Public Health Agency, and Dr. Mohamed Alex Vandi, Deputy Director of the National Public Health Agency, in providing technical support during the national review of the Central African Republic and Portugal.

For Media Inquiries:

Mohamed Sheriff

Information Attaché, Geneva, Switzerland

+41791756648

Email: m.sheriff@slmge.ch*

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