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Liberia Concludes Three-Day Training to Strengthen Event Based Surveillance through Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS)

To better detect acute public health events with pandemic potential and to monitor disease control measures on a real time basis, the National Institute of Public Health in Liberia (NPHIL) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) with support from World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a three-day workshop on Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources (EIOS).

The three-day workshop held, brought together 40 participants from MOH, NPHIL, Ministry of Defense, AFENET, WHO and was facilitated by EIOS experts from WHO AFRO. The virtual and in-person meeting was held under strict observance of COVID-19 protocols.

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The EIOS initiative is a unique collaboration between various public health stakeholders that brings together new and existing initiatives, networks and systems to create a unified all-hazards, One Health approach to early detection, verification, assessment and communication of public health threats using publicly available information. EIOS is an important aspect of Event Based Surveillance as emphasized in the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) strategy. The system builds on a long-standing collaboration between WHO and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission (EC) to develop a system for public health intelligence with an ultimate goal of saving lives through early detection of threats and subsequent interventions.

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In his opening remarks, Dr. Zabulon Yoti, acting WHO Country Representative in Liberia said early detection is key for timely response, contributes to the overall global health security, and ensures that populations are better protected from the effects of health emergencies. “I wish we had better tools before the 2014 Ebola outbreak to have picked up the outbreak and responded early; we could have avoided the catastrophic effects Ebola had on Liberia some of which the country is still trying to recover from today.” Dr. Yoti added.

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Speaking during the official closing ceremony, Hon. Jane MaCaulay, the Director General of NPHIL thanked the WHO team from both the country office and AFRO for making this training available to Liberia. “When we heard of COVID-19 in Wuhan, we started our preparedness for an effective response to the outbreak, which has contributed to the low numbers we are seeing as a country.” She said.

The EIOS system is aimed at consolidating a wide array of endeavors and platforms to build strong Public Health intelligence (PHI) communities supported by robust, harmonized, and standardized PHI systems and frameworks across organizations and jurisdictions.

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