ONGWEDIVA - Health officials from Namibia and Angola assembled in Ongwediva to discuss ways to collaborate and measures to control and totally eradicate guinea worm disease.
The weeklong gathering will strengthen collaboration for surveillance, disease prevention and effective preparedness and response to emergencies along the border regions.
Although guinea worm was eradicated in Namibia in 2000, two cases were detected in Angola between last and this year.
At the moment, seven countries globally remain to be certified free of guinea worm disease while 188 countries and territories have been cleared of guinea worms.
“With the ongoing transmission in Angola, especially in a province so close, Namibia cannot sit aloof. All certified countries are to continue post-certification surveillance until the last country is certified,” said the world health organisation (WHO) medical officer for neglected tropical diseases Andrew Seidu Korkor.
Korkor said there is a need to build on the momentum of successful cross-border collaboration in other geographic zones of the region for maintaining guinea worm-free status despite the ongoing transmission in neighbouring countries.
Moving forward, he said WHO would continue to support efforts to involve the wider communities to ensure the access of marginalised populations with neglected tropical diseases.
“Cross border collaboration under the universal health coverage can become the next step to providing targeted health services for all, including those who are hard to reach and or may not have ready access to health care in their local jurisdiction.”
As part of the deliberation, the meeting plans to set up a joint plan for 2002-21 to strengthen cross border collaboration.
It will draft a plan of action for strengthening cross border surveillance between the two countries.
At the meeting, Namibia is represented from all its 14 regions.