Project on improving public health capacity of Sierra Leone: problems & solutions | Updated: 2023-10-17
I. Problems
The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa has dealt a heavy blow to Sierra Leone's public health system, exposing the vulnerabilities in the country's public health infrastructure, including insufficient monitoring and testing capacity and a lack of qualified personnel. In March 2015, the China-aided Sierra Leone-China Friendship Biological Safety Laboratory, a fixed Biosafety Level 3 (P3) laboratory, was officially launched, to facilitate the detection and monitoring of Ebola, malaria, and other infectious diseases, and cultivate a group of highly qualified laboratory staff in Sierra Leone.
However, as the demand for laboratory technological cooperation increases and the scale of capacity training expands in Sierra Leone, the existing experts and their areas of expertise are outweighed. Additionally, there is a need to establish a laboratory monitoring, testing, and management network in Sierra Leone based on laboratory capacity building, and to enhance partnerships and promote resource sharing.
II. Solutions
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) proposed to initiate an exploratory project in Sierra Leone under the China-UK Global Health Support Programme in 2016 to assist Sierra Leone in enhancing its public health capacity, based on the extensive communication with Public Health England (PHE) and the solid foundation of Sino-Sierra Leone cooperation. The UK made use of its advantages in capital and expertise, as well as resources in Sierra Leone to support China in conducting laboratory testing and personnel training at the P3 laboratory. The Project Management Office (PMO) was established at the Center for Project Supervision and Management under the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China to oversee the daily operation and management of the project.