JUBA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) is helping South Sudan develop a national health security plan to boost the country's response to disease outbreaks and public health threats, an official said on Monday.
Argata Guracha, WHO's head of Health Emergencies Program in South Sudan, said the National Action Plan for Health Security (NAPHS), a multisectoral strategy spearheaded by the WHO is aimed at providing guidelines to countries to enable them to boost their health systems and improve response to public health emergencies.
"The plan will guide the country on the steps to be taken. What is available and what needs to be done so that the country will be better prepared to prevent and respond to outbreaks and emergencies," said Guracha in Juba.
The official was speaking during the launch of a five-day workshop between health ministry and WHO which seeks to finalize the NAPHS for South Sudan.
Guracha said once complete, the national action plan will strengthen South Sudan's core capacities for prevention, preparedness and response to all health hazards.
Thuou Loi, director general for international health and coordination at South Sudan's health ministry, said the plan would boost South Sudan's response to national and international public health threats such as the ongoing outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
"It is an important plan for us especially as a new country to build our capacity and join the league of nations that are capable and able to deal with public health issues of international concern," Loi said.
WHO rates South Sudan as a "high risk" country for the spread of the Ebola virus from the DRC through the porous borders shared by the African countries.