Health Ministry revamping COVID-19 response

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Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony

New Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony has disclosed that one of his immediate actions as the minister responsible for the sector is to implement a new structure for the government’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Anthony noted that since President Dr Irfaan Ali was sworn-in, an assessment was done on the national response and there were several issues identified that need to be addressed.

“We have started by looking at the various agencies that were tasked with the response under the previous administration and as you would recall they have different levels of response, the task force, they had a secretariat, they had the Ministry of Health responding on the medical issues, they had the CDC doing some things and you had other entities working,” Dr. Anthony stated.

Upon finding this, it was concluded that the previous government’s approach was disjointed.

“When I asked what are the plans, how we are doing, what we are doing and so forth I found different agencies had different plans, nothing was in sync they were not coordinated,” he explained.

As a result of the previous government’s approach, Dr. Anthony said the overall response to containing the spread of the disease has proven to be ineffective

“One of the things that we will have to look at is how we are going to bring a new structure that is more responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and to make sure that there is participation from various ministries and sectors who want to get involved with the response to the epidemic and the country as a whole.”

Additionally, as part of revamping the national response, Dr. Anthony said they will also be looking to ensure that frontline workers in the health sector are adequately supplied with Personal Protective Equipment as these were found to be in limited supply.

Testing kits are also being procured for more widespread testing to be conducted. [Extracted and Modified from DPI]