Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Austin Demby has said that Africa’s health security needs to be strengthened to cope with recurrent healthcare threats in the continent.

He said emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are a sign that the health security of the continent needs to be strengthened to cope with the disease threats.

Dr. Demby made the call-in line with the Africa CDC’s pledge to support Tanzania and its neighboring countries to control the ongoing Marburg virus disease outbreak in the country. He also urged members of the public to continue sharing information promptly with the authorities to enable a most effective response.

He said Sierra Leone went through Ebola and at one stage had Marburg, but because of the timely intervention of the country’s health system and the experience from Ebola, the country was able to quell the Marburg virus within the shortest possible time.

As part of its efforts to strengthen the health security of Africa, the Africa CDC, the African Union (AU)’s specialized healthcare agency, last week launched its second five-year strategic plan spanning from 2022 to 2026.

According to the plan, the Africa CDC will provide strategic direction and support to AU member countries during the period through six pillars, including surveillance and disease intelligence, information systems, laboratory systems and networks, emergency preparedness,s and response, national public health institutes and research, as well as disease control and prevention.

The ultimate purpose of the plan, which was developed in line with the AU’s 50-year continental development Agenda 2063, is to ensure a safer, healthier, coordinated, and prosperous Africa, said the statement.

Dr. Demby said countries close to Tanzania must be on the alert and that other African countries must learn from those that have fought the Ebola virus for them to learn and get themselves prepared well in case of any attack of these viruses.