As the Tackling deadly diseases in Africa programme comes to a close, we convened health security policymakers for an open conversation with our team of technical experts and implementing partners, including Fondation Mérieux Mali and Centre Pasteur Cameroon (Brussels, 12 Oct 2022). Our ambition was to share our learnings and discuss how momentum on One Health can be maintained by governments and supported by new programmes in the future.
Dr. Charlotte Laurence was the technical writer for the original TDDA proposal and returned as Programme Director soon after the project’s inception in early 2020. Speaking at the event, she reflected on how TDDA was designed before COVID-19 and implemented during it. She explained how that experience has transformed her understanding of health security and shared her three main lessons.
Equity: "Rather than equity being an add-on, it’s actually very pragmatic to take vulnerable, hard to reach people as your starting point to improve health security. Pandemics begin and end in communities. Imagine the most vulnerable person in a remote community and think through what sort of systems you would need to make sure you know who’s affected, and make sure that they have access to reliable information and to prevention and response interventions. You need support from civil society organizations and you need community- based surveillance systems operated by well-supervised and resourced community health workers that are closely linked to local health facilities."
Inclusiveness: "Governments generally, and Ministries of Health in particular, cannot respond to pandemics on their own. Health security is a collaborative effort and we are all part of the solution. Governments collaborating closely with donors, civil society organizations, the private sector and with different ministries including agriculture, livestock and social security ministries."
Sustainability: "If we are to have any chance of sustainability, responses need to be coherent and fully integrated within national systems… To achieve that, [health security projects] need to listen carefully to national governments and provide support to them based on their priorities and timetables."
Further TDDA reflections are provided in our new report, Building trust in uncertain times, launched at the event in Brussels. We focus on how future projects can build trust and bring everybody round the table, as part of a multi-sector, whole-of-society approach that will keep more people safe.