The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a health initiative in five West African countries that responds to their shared commitment to improve health security worldwide.
The initiative, supported by a US$12 million grant for three years of activities in Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone, aims to reinforce national capacities to prevent as well as detect and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases and other health security threats.
Director General of the Department of Global Disease Eradication Fund at KOICA, Taek Guen Lee said, “In this day of global travel, what happens in Africa can impact the world. We are confident this initiative will strengthen strategic partnerships with the five partner countries and WHO and enhance joint capability to respond to current emerging global health issues.”
The initiative’s multi-level design combines a global outlook with regional support and oversight of activities that will have an impact at the local level. By strengthening national capacity, the initiative is expected to directly benefit an estimated 61 million people in the five countries, with extended reach to an estimated 1 billion people globally, in line with the WHO triple billion goals for universal health coverage, health emergency protection and better health and well-being.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said, “With an acute public health event striking Africa every three to four days, strengthening countries’ capacity to cope with outbreaks is imperative. WHO welcomes this strategic partnership with the Republic of Korea, which will help combat outbreaks and emerging pathogens.”
With technical assistance from WHO, the five health ministries will implement the planned activities covering the application of appropriate legislation, surveillance and risk assessments as well as the training of health workers, including national rapid response teams. Standard operating procedures in health emergencies will be further refined and carried out, in line with the International Health Regulations (2005).
All activities have been designed to address critical gaps specific to each country and will strengthen capacity for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks. This design reflects the outcomes presented in each country’s United Nations Development Assistance Framework.
The five-country health security initiative was launched in a meeting in Dakar, Senegal of delegations from the five ministries of health, KOICA country offices and WHO to finalize the implementation plans based on each country-specific context.
Established in 1991, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) manages the Republic of Korea grant aid programmes and promotes international cooperation. Pursuing global social values, the KOICA mission is to “leave no one behind with people-centred peace and prosperity”
The Global Disease Eradication Fund is the Korean government’s program with a mission to preventing and controlling infectious diseases in Low income countries (LICs) and Lower Middle income countries (LMICs). As a development fund of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), collected through an air ticket solidarity levy, KOICA has been entrusted with a responsibility to manage and operate this program.