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Lesotho, SA agree on disease surveillance

Limpho Sello

THE Ministry of Health and the South African Department of Health have agreed on the establishment of joint committees to conduct surveillance, investigations and responses to the outbreak of diseases.

This was agreed at the recent three day meeting between the two countries at Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village.

Speaking in the wake of the meetings, Maseru District Administrator, Mpane Nthunya, said they agreed on a joint cross-border surveillance, to “ensure joint investigations of disease outbreaks and responses in border zones”.

Mr Nthunya said the agreement was reached after initial meetings that were held in Ficksburg, South Africa in November 2017 where it was resolved to establish Cross-Border committees at Thabo Mofutsanyane (South Africa), Leribe and Butha-Buthe.

“It was agreed that there should be regular, quarterly cross-border meetings to address issues of common interest with particular emphasis on disease surveillance and management of outbreaks.

“The first meeting after this inception meeting is proposed for the first week of July 2018 in Ladybrand,” Mr Nthunya said.

He said after noting the limited capacity of cross-border diseases control and surveillance, they recommended the strengthening of the district teams, border teams, health facilities and communities’ capacity to respond to the outbreak of diseases.

He said this would be done through the provision of facilities and equipment as well as training to identify hazards and assess risks.

“We noted the need for two-way communication on the outbreak of diseases between the two countries at the points of entry for the purposes of preparedness. We also agreed on the need for an information sharing platform that is in line with both countries’ data and information sharing policies.”

The committee were composed of experts on disease surveillance and laboratory; district commissioners or their appointees; the district focal person responsible for integrated disease surveillance and response; one focal person responsible for animal health; one immigration official and a customs official.

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