Health sector targets transparency evaluation
A workshop held yesterday aimed to promote cooperation, transparency and openness in data and information sharing across the health sector as part of the larger Joint External Evaluation (JEE) initiative.
The JEE for International Health is a newly developed scheme for improving the assessment of a country's health resources to guaranty clear evaluation and transparency in preventing and rapidly responding to public health threats or outbreaks in the future, health officials confirmed.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop in Vientiane on all 19 health technical areas including two new areas on immunization and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), Deputy Health Minister, Associate Prof. Dr Phouthone Moungpak said that transparency was an important element in order to attract and direct resources to where they are needed most.
He said “It is indeed a great honour and privilege for the Ministry of Health and other related ministries that form the so called “Lao Team” to have the opportunity to work with the JEE team to jointly assess the accomplishments and the satisfaction of the implementation of international health regulations in Laos.”
The joint assessment could potentially contribute to the strengthening of the healthcare system as well as the improvement of multi- sectorial collaboration which aims to focus around public health emergency preparedness as a centre point.
The result of the JEE will also contribute to current health sector reform which will be useful for the improvement and adjustment of the current five years plan (2016-2020) in terms of controlling emerging disease and public health emergency preparedness.
With the support of the World Health Organisation, an Emergency Operating Centre (EOC) has been established at the Ministry of Health where major outbreaks such as dengue fever, and polio have been timely managed and controlled by the coordination/collaboration between various departments, centres, hospitals, and development partners linking to parallel action at the provincial level, providing an effective centre of command for disease outbreak control.
However, in spite of these achievements, there are still a lot of remaining challenges so it may be more realistic to rely on the findings, conclusions and recommendations from the JEE.
WHO Representative Dr Juliet Fleischl said this was an important follow-up to the first JEE internal review the country conducted in June of last year.
She said annual reviews were conducted and major improvements were made in surveillance, risk assessment and response, laboratory capacity, and the ‘One Health' coordination mechanism. She also said that the Lao PDR now has functioning systems in all of the core capacity areas.
Since January of this year, the country noticed a trend of increasing number of dengue cases in Vientiane with some southern provinces reporting dengue at alarming epidemic levels. The number of confirmed cases is second only to 2013, where the country last had a major dengue outbreak.
By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update February 18, 2017)