The Early Warning Directorate of the ECOWAS Commission, in collaboration with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), has concluded a four (4) day training session in Lomé, Togo, to strengthen the capacity of Health Analysts of National Centers for the Coordination of Response Mechanism (NCCRM) in Member States.
The workshop, which opened on, November 14, 2023, the workshop was attended by Health Analysts from NCCRMs from Member States, technical staff from WAHO/RCSDC, and facilitators from Gambia and Côte d’Ivoire.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Onyinye ONWUKA, the Acting Director of Early Warning Directorate, recalled the challenges facing ECOWAS countries in the face of epidemics and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, which alone accounts for more than 55% of deaths recorded in the region. The 2014 Ebola outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 further highlighted the weakness of health infrastructure and capacity of health personnel in the region.
During the four days, participants deliberated and exchanged information on the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response System (IDRS), public health surveillance and preparedness, event-based community-level surveillance, cross-border surveillance, and communication in times of crisis.
The workshop also allowed national centers to share their respective experiences of practicing early warning and coordinating response activities.
The workshop was graced with the presence of H.E, Mrs. Damtien L. Tchintchibidja, the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission. In her address to participants, she highlighted the importance of National Centers for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response in the ECOWAS peace and security architecture. She encouraged the participants to make the most of the workshop opportunity to share experiences, network and enhance their capacity. She reiterated the commitment of ECOWAS to accompany Member States in strengthening human security, for sustainable regional peace and stability.
The ECOWAS early warning system, which has been operational at regional level since 2008, has been decentralized since 2015 with the creation of National Centers for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanism
Eleven (11) national centers are operational to date. The centers in Benin, Cabo Verde, Senegal and Togo will be operational in 2024.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).