WHO takes action to tackle public health emergency in Kenya

NAIROBI, May 5 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday launched an initiative to tackle public health emergencies in Kenya, with a focus on timely and effective outbreak detection, assessment and response.

The emergency preparedness and response "is expected to strengthen African countries' strategy to prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to health emergencies," said Abdourahmane Diallo, the WHO's country representative in Kenya, at a press conference in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Under the initiative, the WHO will donate vehicles for emergency response to the Ministry of Health and several counties to strengthen the emergency response capacity of the East African nation.

Diallo said that Kenya is among 17 pilot countries in Africa where emergency preparedness and response is implemented. It is expected that 80 percent of the African countries will have sustainable health security financing and 90 percent of them are able to mobilize an effective response to public emergencies within 24 hours of detection.

The initiative, he explained, will also apply the use of electronic systems to detect and respond to public health emergencies in a more efficient manner.

Cabinet Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Health Susan Nakhumicha said the initiative will strengthen the country's capacity to anticipate risks, plan for contingencies and prepare to mobilize human and material resources to swiftly and efficiently prevent and mitigate the risks of emergencies.

The WHO is training 120 multidisciplinary rapid response teams in Kenya for current and future emergencies. They are expected to join more than 3,000 teams across Africa which can be deployed within 24 hours in case of a public health emergency.

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