Supporting Sierra Leone's Public Health Agency

NPHI team members meeting with the Sierra Leone NPHA Development Workgroup.

NPHI team members meeting with the Sierra Leone NPHA Development Workgroup.

When the Ebola outbreak devastated Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2015, the country saw that it needed to establish a public health institute—CDC has been helping this effort to better protect the public health of Sierra Leoneans. In August 2016, CDC visited Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to help establish the Sierra Leone National Public Health Agency (NPHA).

National public health institutes are designed to improve a country’s response to public health threats. “There is a need for greater coordination and collaboration across sectors,” says Sierra Leone NPHA development lead, Dr. T.T. Samba.

Dennis Jarvis (CDC NPHI Program) receives guidance from the Sierra Leone NPHA development lead, Dr. T.T. Samba.

Dennis Jarvis (CDC NPHI Program) receives guidance from the Sierra Leone NPHA development lead, Dr. T.T. Samba.

CDC shared best practices for building national public health institutes, and also guided MoHS in deciding which functions the Sierra Leone NPHA should focus on initially; The priorities identified for initial NPHA focus include: surveillance, laboratory, research, emergency preparedness and response, and workforce development. CDC also consulted with MoHS subject matter experts, updated the Sierra Leone NPHA strategic plan, and developed a 3-month action plan for partners providing technical support.

CDC has been supporting the MoHS efforts to build the NPHA in partnership with China CDC, the International Association for National Public Health Institutes, Public Health England, and the World Health Organization. Plans are underway for a 2017 workshop in which MoHS, the working group, and partners will discuss further ways NPHA plans can improve public health to protect the welfare of all Sierra Leoneans.