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ALCO charges member countries on integrated disease surveillance, response


Sani Aliyu

The Abidjan-Lagos corridor Organization (ALCO) has charged member countries on strengthening cross-border information sharing on integrated disease surveillance and response.

ALCO which has 1022km highway road network is the largest in West Africa and this accounts for about 65 per cent of economic activities in the sub-region and connect the economic capitals of five coastal countries: Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, Accra in Ghana, Lome in Togo, Cotonou in Benin and Lagos in Nigeria.

Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu, who also doubles as the Chairman of ALCO, at the 2nd regional meeting on Strengthening Cross-Border Information Sharing on Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDRIS) held recently in Lome-Togo, said the world is evolving towards an inevitable globalization where populations are continuously bound by roads, the air, the sea and communication technologies and this has make it possible for the outbreak of an epidemic in any part of the world to quickly becomes an issue of international concern.

The ALCO Chairman informed participants at the meeting that West African countries are committed to develop key capacities required by the International Health Regulations (IHR) to prevent the global spread of diseases, protect against and control them by responding efficiently without affecting international traffic and trade.

ALCO was established in 2002 in response to the desire of Heads of State of ALCO member countries, to provide as a complement to national efforts, a cross-border response to Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) vulnerability of mobile populations and facilitate the free movement of people and goods.

The NACA boss and Chairman of ALCO emphasise that as part of support to government’s effort’s in the fight against these epidemics, ALCO received a grant from United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Atlanta for the implementation in Benin and Togo of strategy 12 of its programme entitled ‘’Global Health Security Partners engagement’’.

Aliyu went further to announce the receipt of additional grant from USAID Benin to enhance the capacity of Benin points of entry in the fight against Viral Hemorrhagic fevers, particularly Ebola Virus Disease.

Aliyu, the Chairman of ALCO told the representatives of member country at the regional meeting that the key interventions under these grants is the yearly organization of a regional meeting on strengthening cross-border information sharing on integrated disease surveillance and response.

The first meeting, he said, was held in Cotonou in December 2016 where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cross-border information sharing was developed and the implementation of resolutions contained in this document has contributed significantly in the management of the recent Lassa fever outbreak in Northern Benin and Togo.

The ALCO chairman said: “Given the quality and array of expertise in our midst here, I am quite convinced that the objectives of this meeting will be achieved. He went on to express his gratitude to all the international partners (WHAO, the World Bank, IOM and Pro Health International) for their unflinching support and the excellent collaboration with ALCO in the implementation of our organization’s activities.”

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