Health practitioners and joint security officers from Nimba, Lofa, Bong and their counterparts from Guinea have decided to form a ‘Regional Surveillance Team’ to keep track of security issues and outbreaks of diseases.
In a cross-border health meeting held in Ganta on September 24, participants, including superintendents of the three counties and their Guinean counterpart, said forming a regional surveillance team will help get them ahead of issues that demand urgent attention.
Dr. Collins Bowah of Nimba County told the Daily Observer that if the regional surveillance team is formed and sustained, it will be able to track any disease in the sub–region.
“If the regional surveillance team is formulated,” Dr. Bowah said, “we will be able to share information regularly with our Guinean counterpart on any issue that has the propensity to harm us.”
In terms of sustainability, he said the counties involved in the team should create an allotment in their social development funds to keep the surveillance team working.
At the recent cross-border meeting, local health authorities of the three counties – Bong, Lofa and Nimba – as well as their Guinean counterpart from Nzerekore made a powerpoint presentation on disease surveillance and how they could control its spread.
This is not the first time for such a cross-border security meeting to take place on either side of the border. It may be recalled that during the days of UNMIL, there were similar monthly meetings to discuss security issues along the border.
Guinean representatives present included Mustafa Conteh, Superintendent of Yormou; Jean Smith Sandy, District Commissioner of Nzerekore; and other officers and health workers, while Supt. Fong Zuagele and proxies from Bong and Lofa counties represented the region.
The meeting was funded by the IOM (International Organization for Migration), and partially by the Danish Refugee Council in collaboration with the Nimba County Health Team. The next meeting will take place in Guinea.