Ministry of Health and Sanitation, National Public Health Agency (NPHA)
Rev. Dr. Thomas Takpau Samba - Director
EOC building, Wilkinson Road, Freetown, Sierra Leone
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak illuminated the need for a more robust emergency response system in Sierra Leone. By March 2015 the country had more than 8,400 confirmed cases of Ebola and had reported 3,600 deaths in all of its 14 districts. By the end of the devastating epidemic the World Health Organization – WHO reported that Sierra Leone suffered a total of 14,122 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the virus and nearly 4,000 lives lost.
Post-Ebola efforts in the country were focused on recovering and strengthening public health capacity. A Sierra Leonean National Public Health Institute had been under development since 2014, but was significantly delayed due to the Ebola outbreak. However, in November 2016 a working group comprised of representatives of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health England, WHO, Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL), NGOs and other partners reconvened to further the discussion for the establishment of the Sierra Leone National Public Health Agency (NPHA).
NPHA became an official member of IANPHI in October 2016. The mission of the agency is to “Secure the health of Sierra Leone, as the trusted source of public health information, guidance, and leadership" and its functions incorporate and combine several core public health functions of Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and parts of GoSL. These functions include:
- Public Health National Reference Laboratory
- Public Health Surveillance activities
- Public Health Emergency Operations
- Health Promotion
- Human Resources for Public Health
- Public Health Research
Goals of the NPHA
- A functional integrated public health surveillance system that provides timely evidence for public health action (prevention, detection, and response).
- An effective public health reference laboratory, linked to surveillance and capable of supporting ongoing improvements.
- A health system that is able to effectively prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.
- A sustainable workforce, capacitated and skilled to meet the public health needs of Sierra Leone.
- A strong and coordinated public health research capacity that informs policy and public health programs.
- Effective prevention of disease, through effective public health advocacy, education, services, and policy development.