Freetown, Oct. 13, 2015 (MOHS) – The Senior Consultant Public Health Laboratory Specialist, Haja Dr. Isatta Wurie has presented a five-man visiting team from the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Maryland, USA to the Minister of Health and Sanitation Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah to acquaint him about their mission.
Health Minister in photograph with high profile APHL Team: third from R-L Scott J. Becker APHL Executive Director, Health Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah and Haja Dr. Isatta Wurie, Senior Consultant Public Health Laboratory Specialist
Introducing the team during a courtesy call on the Minister at his Youyi Building office in Freetown, Dr. Wurie said APHL has been very supportive since 2009, adding that this is the Executive Director’s first visit to Sierra Leone to explore further priority areas of assistance within the Ministry’s Post Ebola Recovery plan to help strengthen its priority programme.
She described APHL as a key and crucial partner in public health, and their plans to beef up the country’s Central Public Health Reference Laboratory (CPHRL). She disclosed the visiting team’s plan to visit the CPHRL and other priority areas during their weeklong stay in Sierra Leone.
The Executive Director APHL, Scott J. Becker, reiterated his organization’s commitment to building the capacity of young professionals, hoping that the Ministry would use the opportunity to present priority areas for assistance within their human resource capacity building framework.
Responding, Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah described the team’s visit as significant even though at the time of zeroing the Ebola infection countrywide.
He recalled the May 2015 Ebola outbreak when the Lassa Fever resource laboratory in Kenema was the only lab that has the capacity to handle blood specimen, expressing his appreciation to the APHL team for identifying one of the areas of concern: the Laboratory which is a priority to the Ministry and the government of Sierra Leone.
Dr. Fofanah told the team that developing the human resource base is welcome news for rapid response, and disclosed plans to articulate actions for the positive implementation of the Draft Laboratory Regulations for its ratification. This, the Minister opined would help strengthening public health policy in Sierra Leone.