Today, HE Ambassador of Ireland to Zambia, Ms Bronagh Carr and WHO Country Representative, Dr Nathan Bakyaita signed an agreement confirming €500,000 in funding from Irish Aid to WHO Zambia for the national capacity for emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and health surveillance systems project.
The project aims to train about 600 health workers in the revised third edition of Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system and COVID-19 surveillance, improve the national weekly surveillance reporting to over 70 percent and have at least 3 million Zambians benefit from improved public health surveillance starting in their communities.
The funding will support Zambia’s efforts to strengthen national public health emergency preparedness, response capacity and health system resilience from public health events across districts over the next one year, so as to promote good health, keep the country safe and serve the vulnerable
“As part of our commitment to health strengthening globally, Ireland is pleased to collaborate with WHO to enhance the national health system in Zambia. One of the many lessons we have learned from the COVID 19 pandemic is that early surveillance, data collection, and building capacity at local level are critical to an effective response. Investing in this partnership, with WHO and the Ministry of Health of Zambia, will improve service delivery and ensure the country is better prepared for and able to respond to health crises in the future, and ultimately, improve well-being and save lives,” said Ms Bronagh Carr, Ambassador of Ireland to Zambia.
The generous funding from Irish Aid comes at a time when WHO Zambia is supporting the Government of Zambia through the Ministry of Health to adapt and roll out the third edition of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system to health care facilities and at community level to provide surveillance and data related to public health emergencies for timely and appropriate response.
“Public health emergencies know no borders and continue to threaten the lives of many. With strong financial support like this one, our long-awaited vision of a strong resilient health system in Zambia, one that can respond and recover from any public health hazard can become a reality. We are very grateful to Ireland for their kind and continued support and look forward to future cooperation,” said Dr Nathan Bakyaita, WHO Country Representative.
Zambia experiences frequent outbreaks of mainly communicable diseases like cholera, typhoid fever, measles, anthrax, and rabies. The support from Ireland will therefore, advance WHO’s efforts to work with the Ministry of Health to strengthen the country’s capacity in public health emergency preparedness, surveillance to priority diseases, conditions, and events, ensure implementation of the IDRS all while maintaining the continuity of essential health service delivery in instances of public health threats.
The project’s main objective is to support and contribute to improved surveillance and monitoring of public health risks, including but also beyond COVID-19. Strengthen capacities at national level to prepare for and respond to any future public health emergencies to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages, achieving universal health coverage, and promoting healthier populations.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) - Zambia.