African officials aim to prevent future Ebola outbreaks
Last year's Ebola outbreak showed how important it is to detect diseases early, which requires health care workers to deliver rapid testing technology quickly throughout nations, including in rural communities.
“Diagnostic services are a cornerstone of health systems and, if well-integrated with surveillance systems, are essential for robust detection and response to public health threats,” Abu Bakarr Fofanah, Sierra Leone’s minister of health and sanitation, said. “There has been enormous progress made in Africa to strengthen laboratory capacity to meet the needs of HIV, malaria and tuberculosis programs. It is now imperative for Africa to take the next steps and improve our resilience to emerging threats, especially to prevent a resurgence of Ebola."
The outbreak also demonstrated the need to close gaps in the worldwide health security agenda. Health leaders throughout Africa have taken proactive measures to improve the laboratory networks throughout the continent, which will help to prevent future outbreaks.
"Like Ebola, emerging diseases and new threats are still being identified on the front lines in our communities," Fofanah said. "The newly released Freetown Declaration calls upon national governments, donors and local partners to address existing gaps in global health security in Africa.”