The Ministry of Health with support from World Health Organization (WHO) convened a five-day meeting to develop a National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) for Uganda. The development of the NAPHS comes after a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of Uganda’s readiness to readiness to respond to public health emergencies, which was done in May 2017 by WHO and other partners.
The NAPHS is a comprehensive, multisectoral, collaborative plan that will guide the country to strengthen its health system and improve emergency response to public health threats, minimizing both health and economic consequences.
The participants in the meeting were asked to identify gaps in the existing plan, formulate strategies for the NAPHS, as well as cost it. The NAPHS will later be presented to cabinet for approval and thus will be the guiding document for the country in responding to public health emergencies.
Dr Sarah Byakika, Assistant Commissioner Health Services Quality Assurance at Ministry of Health, opened the meeting and said that the NAPHS will form a foundation for better coordination. She further stressed the importance of multisectoral participation saying, “it will strengthen our response capacity during public health emergencies.”
Dr Byakika also acknowledged the support of WHO headquarters and the Uganda country office highlighting its importance to Uganda in dealing with public health emergencies.
The Acting Commissioner for Monitoring and Evaluation in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Timothy Lubanga, closed the meeting and called on the participants from the different sectors to increase commitment to improving the health security of the country. He further highlighted the need for ownership of the NAPHS stating that it is a plan for the whole country.
WHO has been strengthening its partnership with relevant partners, using existing frameworks such as International Health Regulations (IHR 005) and aligning with World Bank financing preparedness. This is intended to embed the multisectoral approach and integrate health security development.
WHO has also carried out a number of evaluations and assessment in different countries including Uganda, and recommended that they develop multi-year national action plans for implementing IHR capacities as part of strengthening resilient health systems.
The meeting was attended by officials from Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health, Prime Minister’s Office, Uganda People’s Defense Forces and the WHO Country office.