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Capacity building for yellow fever laboratory screening in South Sudan



Capacity building for yellow fever laboratory screening in South Sudan

Current efforts to improve yellow fever screening capacities are aligned with national health security priorities

JUBA, South Sudan, October 16, 2021 / APO Group / –

A team of technical officers from the National Public Health Laboratory was formed over the past week, with the aim of strengthening its capacity to help fight yellow fever epidemics.

South Sudan is in the yellow fever belt and has reported 187 cases including 27 deaths reported in three separate outbreaks in 2003, 2018 and 2020. In addition, in the absence of massive preventive vaccination campaigns, the risk outbreaks remains high in the country. Strengthening national capacities for case detection, investigation and screening is essential for an effective fight against yellow fever.

With the support of the Eliminate Yellow Fever Epidemics (EYE) partnership including WHO, GAVI, UNICEF, CDC and other health implementing partners, the Ministry of Health trained technical officers of the National Public Health Laboratory on laboratory testing and confirmation of yellow fever.

“South Sudan will continue to strengthen surveillance and response capacity against yellow fever and other diseases in the context of the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy. Strengthening national capacity for yellow fever laboratory testing will facilitate rapid confirmation and response to new outbreaks, as required by international health regulations (IHR (2005), “said Dr John Rumunu, Director General of Services of preventive health from the Ministry of Health.

A joint WHO-funded health ministry external evaluation in 2017 showed that of the 10 baseline laboratory tests countries were expected to perform, South Sudan was only able to perform five tests for HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, measles and cholera. The South Sudan National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) therefore includes the expansion of laboratory capacity as a core intervention.

Current efforts to strengthen yellow fever screening capacity are aligned with national health security priorities which have enabled the country to acquire additional laboratory screening capacity for Ebola, Marburg, influenza in recent years. and COVID-19.

The WHO global yellow fever update showed that yellow fever transmission increased in 2020 with seven more countries reporting confirmed yellow fever cases, the highest since 2009. These trends highlight the Growing gaps in the immunity of the population and hence the urgent need to strengthen the implementation of the EYE strategy in high risk countries like South Sudan.

Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Country Representative in South Sudan, thanked EYE partners for their continued support in building national capacity for yellow fever control and elimination. “Through the EYE partnership, WHO will continue to help the government of South Sudan quickly contain epidemics, prevent the international spread of yellow fever and ensure that populations at risk are protected from yellow fever by vaccination, ”said Dr Fabian Ndenzako.

The EYE strategy continues to be a key global coordination mechanism to optimize the fight against yellow fever. The objectives of the strategy are to protect populations at risk through vaccination, prevent international spread and quickly contain epidemics.

As countries at high risk for yellow fever strive to improve yellow fever control guided by the EYE strategy, the risk of outbreaks remains high. Countries are advised to accelerate and optimize the implementation of the priorities of the EYE strategy, leveraging the capacities of existing systems such as Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) to strengthen surveillance and response. response as well as strengthening coordination with national routine immunization programs for other vaccines. preventable diseases. The IDSR strategy supports case-based surveillance, testing and response to suspected and confirmed cases of yellow fever.

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