It has been almost seven years since the period of sustained Ebola Virus Transmission in west Africa, the epidemic that took the lives of 11,32.
Research attributed the spread of the Ebola Virus disease in Liberia and other affected African countries to many factors including Weak surveillance systems, , poor public health infrastructure, unprecedented circulation of EVD into crowded urban areas, and conflicts between key prevailing cultural and traditional practices in West Africa among others.
Despite all of these, Liberia still has one of the lowest professional healthcare workers in the world of 11.8per 10,000 instead of minimum of 45/10,000, poor health infrastructure according to the World Health Organization for meeting the SDGs.
Medical laboratory technicians who played major role during the 2013-2016 epidemic are consider the cadres with the least number of qualified health workers.
The 2014 Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa exposed the vulnerabilities of regional health systems and highlighted the urgent need for collaboration and experience-sharing as populations move across borders.
As part of such efforts to curtail some of these challenges facing the health sector and laboratory system across Africa, CelebrateLAB on Tuesday April 23 2019 began its fifth West Africa Biorisk Management conference.
The 2019 conference aims to serve as a platform for West Africa laboratory professionals to share best practices, acquire knowledge and debate innovative approaches for better diagnostic outcomes for Africans and also emphasizes strengthening collaborations across West African borders and promoting public-private partnerships in the health sector.
The two-day Event brought together laboratory scientists from public and private sectors, officials from the World Health Organization, Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Liberia (NPHIL).
Liberia’s Ministry of Health was represented at the conference by its Assistant Minister for Curative Services Madam Catherine Cooper.
Madam Cooper serving as one of the panelists emphasized the need to concentrate on the quality of the country’s laboratory system be better prepare for reoccurrence of any infectious diseases.
According to her, they have realized the significant gap in numbers of Lab Technicians that Liberia should have in the health system.
she explained that over the last few years, there are influx of donation of equipment to the health sector but, have been abandoned and yet be utilized due to other minor problems.
Also remarking the event a member of the Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria has attributed challenges facing Bio-Safety across Africa to lack of quality laboratory practices and accreditation, inadequate diagnostics testing capacity at both national and community levels among others.
Dr. Edward Abayomi Akinwale explained that 60 percent of those who contracted the EVD would have been diagnosed on the first day, the risk of spread at that period would have been reduced from 80 to zero percent.
He calls on ECOWAS heads of States to consider public-private partnership aim at helping to boost effort in the health sector.
Dr. Akinwals said Africa has the burden with curtailing infectious diseases due to little spending on the heath and that nothing will solve in the health infrastructure.
He further added that out of all Africa heads of states who promised to spend 15 percent of the national budget on the health system, only one has live up to his promise something that does not offer well for the country.
Accordingly, the event climaxed with the certification of over hundred Lab Technicians from various ECOWAS regions who participated in the event.
Africabio Enterprises is a trade organization for professionals and companies in the life sciences industry around the world seeking to compliment relationships and expertise in the health system strengthen in, neglected disease, agribusiness, diagnostic, and industrial biotechnology in Africa.