The Government of Uganda has launched the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS) 2019-2023 under the theme “Securing Uganda Against Health Threats” to strengthen Uganda’s health security capacity and community resilience against public health threats in compliance with International Health Regulations (2005).
The NAPHS 2019-2023 will employ a multisectoral government led approach with strategic partnerships to implement focusing on the fact that public health is dependent on the individual, their environment and system in which they function.
Specifically, the NAPHS will strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats, collaboration and coordination mechanism through application of multi-sectoral and one health approaches, map and align existing plus potential domestic and external financing to support NAPHS 2019 – 2023 implementation.
In 2017, Uganda conducted a Joint External Evaluation (JEE) to assess capacities required under the IHR (2005) which showed that Uganda had made great progress towards health security; however, more work was required to strengthen and consolidate national health security core capacities and meet the requirements under the IHR (2005).
Representing the Prime Minister of Uganda at the launch, the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said “Today marks another critical milestone for Uganda and demonstrates its global leadership in prevention, detection and response to health emergencies.” The NAPHS is envisioned as a strategy to urgently address the significant gaps existing between all Ministries, Departments and Agencies in respect to preparedness, real time surveillance and emergency response, in addressing zoonotic diseases.
In the past years, Uganda has experienced several disease outbreaks such as; Ebola, Yellow Fever, Marburg, Rift Valley Fever, Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), Measles and Rubella.
Dr Aceng added that “It is against this background that the National Action Plan for Health Security cements the Government of Uganda’s commitment to systematically build the capacities necessary to secure communities from infectious disease threats/emergencies and all other Public health hazards that can emanate from zoonosis, food safety, chemical, radiation and biological weapons and to mitigate the impacts of public health emergencies on livelihood, socio and economic domains.”
Uganda still remains vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters which pose serious public health threats to citizens and the economy. The risk of both human and animal diseases is high majorly because of our geographical location. “The National Action Plan for Health Security will strengthen the nation’s capacity to achieve Universal health coverage and sustainable development goals” Dr Aceng noted.
The US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac applauded the Government of Uganda for positioning health security high on the national agenda and a priority for a whole of Government response. “Uganda continues to be a leader in the region and in the world in these efforts” she said.
The World Health Organization Country Representative, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam committed his organization’s support in achieving sustainable capacity to respond to public health emergencies and providing technical assistance and support to implement the action plan.
The Office of the Prime Minister will oversee the implementation of the National Action Plan for Health Security while Ministry of Health will provide technical coordination while other Ministries, Departments and Agencies will provide their respective input.