Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to once again thank you for participating in this important workshop that marks yet a milestone of long and strong relationship between Lesotho and South Africa. Let me thank the organizers, our guest yet our colleagues as well as our facilitators from East Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC) through the Southern Africa TB and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Southern Africa TB and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project is a regional project covers four countries of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia with the aim to improve coverage and quality of key TB control and occupational lung disease services in targeted geographic areas of the participating countries; and strengthen regional capacity to manage the burden of TB and occupational diseases. The interventions are implemented though three overarching components (i) Innovative Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of TB; (ii) Regional Capacity for Disease Surveillance, Diagnostics, and Management of TB and Occupational Lung Diseases; and (iii) Regional Learning and Innovation, and Project Management.

Let me remind you that ECSA-HC and NEPAD in collaboration with Government of the Republic of Mozambique organized the inaugural meeting of the Regional Community of Practice (CoP): Laboratory and Surveillance in Maputo, Mozambique from 22-25 August 2017. In this meeting one of the key issues discussed with recommendations to be implemented was status of Cross-Border Surveillance in the Africa Region using One Health Approach”, ensuring joint outbreak investigation and response in border zones at high risk of disease outbreaks among other defined activities.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguish guests, as part of the implementation of the recommendation, Lesotho and South Africa by nature of being neighbors, conducted their first meeting in Ficksburg, South Africa in November 2017 where amongst the agreed plan of actions was to establish Cross-Border zones as follows:

ZONES

Districts

1

Thabo Mofutsanyane (South Africa), Leribe (Lesotho) and Butha Buthe (Lesotho)

2

Thabo Mofutsanyane (South Africa) and Maseru District Cross-Border

3

Mangaung (South Africa) and Mafeteng (Lesotho) Zone

4

Joe Gqabi (South Africa) and Quthing (Lesotho) Zone

5

Alfred Nzo (South Africa) and Qacha’s Nek Zone

6

Xhariep District (South Africa) and Mohale’s Hoek Lesotho)

7

Okhahlamba (South Africa), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (South Africa) Districts and Mokhotlong District (Lesotho) Zone

The Thabo Mofutsanyane (South Africa), Leribe (Lesotho) and Butha Buthe (Lesotho) Cross-border Zone held its follow up meeting in January 2018 at Leribe. The agreed participants of the committee are composed using the one health approach minimum. The composition of participants of the Cross-Border committee was suggested to be:

  • Experts from Disease Surveillance and Laboratory
  • The local District commissioner or his/her appointee who will personally attend team meetings for consistency
  • The district focal person responsible for integrated disease surveillance and response
  • The district focal person responsible for laboratory services
  • The district medical officer of health or his appointee who will be a clinician
  • The district focal person responsible for environmental health
  • A senior health worker and member of a Hospital Management Team from the biggest health facility in the district
  • One focal person responsible for animal/wildlife health
  • One local immigration official
  • One local customs official

Other participants may be incorporated as per need to implement cross-border diseases surveillance activities between the two countries.

In this first meeting of ML CBC, the following agreements were reached:

  1. Communication for outbreaks and other emergencies follows the official channel which may delay response and actions at the local level

Recommendation MLCBC/R1/2018: Conduct regular (quarterly) cross-border meetings to address issues of common interest with particular emphasis on disease surveillance and outbreak management, based on the One Health model. The first meeting after this inception meeting is proposed for THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY 2018 in Ladybrand

  1. Noted the purpose, objectives and Terms of Reference (ToRs) and reviewed them for their appropriateness for the Maseru Ladybrand Cross Border Committee

Recommendation MLCBC/R2/2018: ToRs

These will include but will not be limited to:

  • Develop Annual plans to guide Zonal Committee activities
  • Conduct risk assessments for priority diseases of public health concern including Zoonotic Disease.
  • Conduct situational analysis of resource availability and resource data bank
  • Avail adequate stockpiles of lab supplies and medicines for outbreak investigations
  • Organize Routine quarterly and emergency meetings of the committee
  • Oversee and support the implementation surveillance and response cross border activities
  • Build capacity of Zonal operational teams
  • Send reports timeously to the next level of surveillance and Response
  • Monitoring and evaluation the project implementation
  1. Discussed and proposed membership to the Maseru Ladybrand CBC in line with the proposed membership in the framework, including the chairs

Recommendation MLCBC/R3/2018

Adopt the proposed ML CBC membership with South Africa to submit final membership with names after consultation with their respective principals by Friday 13th April 2018

  1. Acknowledged the limited capacity of cross-border diseases control and surveillance (facilities and/or competence of staff in IDSR and Surveillance, community and health facilities linkage)

Recommendation MLCBC/R4/2018: Strengthen capacity for disease response with particular reference to district teams, border/crossing point teams, health facilities, communities and other stakeholders in the border region through Facilities and Equipment (quarantine rooms, scanners) IDSR Training Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment training. Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments should be conducted following the training

  1. Noted the need for communication on disease incidence between the 2 countries at the points of entry for purposes of preparedness

Recommendation MLCBC/R5/2018: Explore possibility of an information sharing platform that is in line with both countries data and information sharing policies

  1. Noted that although emergency preparedness and response plans were in place, these have not been tested

Recommendation MLCBC/R6/2018: Implement the planned simulation exercises in a coordinated manner to ensure all functional area simulations are reported and recorded

Programme director, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to once again, thank everyone who took time to come for this important meeting. I believe we shall ensure that we implement the recommendations and ensure continuity of long and strong relationship in preventing morbidity and mortality. Remember, improving laboratory diagnosis as well as strengthening diseases surveillance using “one Health Approach” will go a long way in prevention of diseases. We need to ensure that the International Health Regulations 2005 are being implemented through this cross border collaboration.

Khotso Pula Nala!

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