The Republic of South Sudan hosted a joint cross-border multi-sectoral disease surveillance meeting in Nimule, South Sudan from 24-26 April, 2018. Experts drawn from human, animal, environmental health and immigration sectors of South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya deliberated on mechanisms to strengthen implementation of cross boarder disease surveillance and outbreak response in the region.

The meeting was convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), the East African Community, the East Central and Southern Africa – Health Community (ECSA-HC) through the East Africa Public Laboratory Networking project and the respective Ministries of Health in South Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya.

The meeting assessed current surveillance strategies, identified challenges and formulated plans to improve preparedness and response across the region in line with the International Health Regulations (2005).

The East African region has been threatened by numerous emerging and re-emerging disease outbreaks of international concern with potential to spread across borders including polio, yellow fever, Ebola Virus disease, Marburg Viral fever, Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, Hepatitis E virus, cholera, measles, meningitis, rift valley fever, and strange outbreaks of unknown origin.

‘The risk of disease outbreaks is enhanced by the increased cross-border trade, movements of humans, animals and goods for trade, high population crowdedness, effects of climate change, and proximity to the Congo basin hotspot and the characteristics of rift valley environment’ said Dr Joseph Wamala, Epidemiologist at WHO South Sudan on behalf of Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i. to South Sudan. He implored surveillance officers to strengthen joint cross-border disease surveillance and response, and reiterated WHO’s commitment to provide the requisite technical support.

For more information please visit WHO Africa website http://www.afro.who.int/