Zambia National Public Health Institute(ZNPHI) has advised stakeholders in the health sector to be vigilant in strengthening public health security if possible disease outbreaks are to be prevented.
ZNPHI Director General Roma Chilengi notes that Zambia has continued experiencing recurrent outbreaks and epidemics such as cholera, typhoid, COVID-19, Schistosomiasis, measles and other diseases that affect livelihoods.
Dr. Chilengi says that the impact from natural hazards such as floods, drought and environmental pollution among others has far reaching implications on public health systems, individuals and the country at large.
He said this today in Lusaka when he officiated at the Workshop for Risk Mapping of Public Health Hazards Using Strategic Tools for Assessing Risk (STAR) methodology, supported by the East, Central and Southern Africa-Health Community (ECSA-HC).
He noted that these hazards not only do they result in loss of lives but they also lead to social and economic catastrophe.
“The Ebola viral disease outbreak of 2014-2016 in West Africa and the COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated to us how important these emergencies can be in almost all spheres of people’s livelihood.
“In this regard it is imperative for the country to adequately prepare for and be able to respond to any public health emergency that may arise, “ he said.
As part of strengthening the capacity for emergency preparedness and response systems, the ZNPHI in collaboration with various partners and line ministries is conducting risk profiling of public health threats in Zambia using the strategic Tool for Assessing Risks.
And World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Nathan Bakyaita has commended the ZNPHI for organizing the Public Health Risk Assessment Workshop.
Dr. Bakyita noted that the negative consequences of any emergencies or disaster including that of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities and countries have continued to highlight the importance of all hazards risk management approach in all the emergency preparedness and response actions.
“The Strategic Tools for Assessing Risk (STAR) is offers a comprehensive easy to use toolkit and approach which can be used at national and subnational levels to rapidly conduct a strategic and evidence based assessment of public health risks for planning and prioritization of health emergency preparedness and disasters risk management activities,’’ he said.
The workshop is expected to tackle risk based health emergency planning and continued prioritization of risk informed actions to prevent, mitigate and recover from a health emergency.