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AFRICAN COUNTRIES WORK ON STRENGTHENING PANDEMIC PREPAREDNESS

As countries continue to grapple with the pressure that Covid 19 has exerted on health systems, experts working in laboratory and surveillance services in six African countries have joined forces to leverage gains made so far under the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project (SATHSSP).

The SATHSSP Initiative brings together experts from East, Central and Southern Africa project implementation countries of Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda and host Malawi.

The experts are meeting in Blantyre through communities of practice for three thematic areas of the project.

Speaking at the opening of the three-day meeting, Deputy Director for Public Health Institute of Malawi responsible for Laboratory Services, Joseph Bangoh, said the conference seeks to strengthen pandemic preparedness at the national and regional levels.

“We want to share best practices on strengthening laboratory services and surveillance capacities amid Covid 19 pandemic challenges and also look at these services within and across borders,” said Bangoh.

Commenting on the discussions, Dr Mohammed Ali Mohammed, Senior Lab Specialist at ECSA-Health Community, challenged the gathering to work on improving coverage and quality of diagnostics as well as disease surveillance in the project-implementing countries as well as those implementing the ECSA Strengthening Pandemic Preparedness (SPP) project.

The Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project is a World Bank-funded project aimed at improving coverage and quality of key TB control and occupational lung disease services as well as strengthening the regional capacity to manage the burden of TB.

Reported by Doreen Sonani, MBC Online Services.

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