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South Sudan mulls public health plan amid high alert for Ebola virus

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) is helping South Sudan develop a national health security plan to boost the country’s response to disease outbreaks and public health threats, an official said on Monday.

Argata Guracha, WHO’s head of Health Emergencies Program in South Sudan, said that the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) was a multi-sectoral strategy spearheaded by the WHO.

Guracha said it was aimed at providing guidelines to countries to enable them to boost their health systems and improve response to public health emergencies.

“The plan will guide the country on the steps to be taken, what is available and what needs to be done so that the country will be better prepared to prevent and respond to outbreaks and emergencies,’’ he said.

The official was speaking during the launch of a five-day workshop between health ministry and WHO which seeks to finalise the NAPHS for South Sudan.

Guracha said that once complete, the national action plan will strengthen South Sudan’s core capacities for prevention, preparedness and response to all health hazards.

Thuou Loi, director general for international health and coordination at South Sudan’s health ministry, said the plan would boost South Sudan’s response to national and international public health threats.

Thuou said that such threats are like the ongoing outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

“It is an important plan for us especially as a new country to build our capacity and join the league of nations that are capable and able to deal with public health issues of international concern.’’

WHO rates South Sudan as a `high risk’ country for the spread of the Ebola virus from the DRC through the porous borders shared by the African countries.

HLM/YEE

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

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