The US Government, learning from the immediate past experience of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa and its devastating human cost, has announced an ambitious plan to construct an annex of its Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Liberia and two others in Guinea and Sierra Leone.
According to CDC’s Deputy Director for Ebola Response to Liberia, Desmond Williams, the move is in an effort to quickly detect and control any infectious disease outbreak in the future.
Speaking at first National Conference on Ebola in Monrovia, recently, Dr. Williams disclosed that the CDC is poised to establish offices in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone to counter the recurrence of the Ebola virus or the outbreak of any other infectious disease.
He was serving as one of three panelists at the conference. The US health practitioner, who has a Sierra Leonean background, noted that the CDC’s local office will help the Ministry of Health develop a surveillance system and the collection and storing of data for relevant infectious disease control purposes.
Dr. Williams indicated that Development Laboratories, which help with early detection and help quickly contain the outbreak of diseases, exist throughout the world and the CDC will ensure that similar facilities are established in Liberia and the rest of the Mano River Union (MRU) basin.
Contributing, moderator Deputy Head of the Incident Management Team, Dr. Francis Kateh, indicated that the issue of surveillance is very critical to detecting and containing infectious diseases, especially as Liberia has very porous borders with its neighbors.
Dr. Kateh said the EVD had a devastating impact as a result of the lack of proper surveillance systems in the three countries.
Following reports of the decline in the EVD infection rate in the three most affected countries, the European Union recently hosted a conference to mobilize support for their post-Ebola reconstruction efforts.
The most urgent need for the three countries is revamping their fragile health systems, with the building of health infrastructures, equipment and the training of more health practitioners.
The building of the CDC annexes in the three countries will ensure an immediate response whenever there is an outbreak of any infectious disease in the West Africa sub-region.