OFFICIALS of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) from the northern regions bordering Angola are attending a conference with their counterparts from the neighbouring country to find ways to improve the provision of health services in their immediate areas.
Representatives from the Kunene, Omusati, Ohangwena, Zambezi, Oshana, Kavango East, Kavango West and Oshikoto regions are participating along with officials from the Namibe, Cunene and Cuando Cubango provinces in Angola.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Kalumbi Shangula, said that cross-border collaboration is essential for joint actions to prevent, detect and respond to health emergencies effectively between Namibia and Angola.
“Concerted action is needed now at local, national, regional and global level to protect our collective well-being for the future,” said Shangula.
According to Shangula, Namibia and Angola in 2005 became members of the International Health Regulations (IHR) that mandates its member states to strengthen capacities for health security.
Representatives of AFRO from Angola, Andrew Korkor, said Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries, affecting more than one billion people.
“Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected,” said Korkor.
According to Korkor, the regional NTD programme is at the eradication Guinea Worm Disease and yaws as well as to eliminate five other conditions which are human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma and onchocerciasis.
“Progress has also been made in eradication and elimination of NTDs,” he noted.
To date globally, 188 countries and territories have been certified free of Guinea Worm Disease, with Kenya being the last to be certified last year February. While was certified free of Guinea Worm Disease back in 2000.
Korkor called on the two countries to build on momentum of successful cross-border collaboration in other geographic zones of the region for maintaining Guinea Worm free status, despite ongoing transmission in neighbouring northern areas.
The meeting that started on Monday is expected to conclude on Friday and is being held under the theme “Strengthening Collaboration for Guinea Worm Disease, Hepatitis E Virus and other Communicable Disease.”