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Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will provide SA with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions the government have taken as the Department of Health in our COVID-19 response.

 

South Africa (05 August 2020) – The first team of experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), who will assist South Africa in its fight against Coronavirus, is set to arrive in the country today.

WHO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health. The WHO Constitution, which establishes the agency’s governing structure and principles, states its main objective as “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.” It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with six semi-autonomous regional offices and 150 field offices worldwide.

“Our goal is to ensure that a billion more people have universal health coverage, to protect a billion more people from health emergencies, and provide a further billion people with better health and well-being.”

A total of 43 senior experts from across the globe, including renowned specialists Dr David Heymann (a seasoned infectious disease epidemiologist and public health expert) and Dr Mike Ryan, are among the team that will assist the country in refining its efforts against the pandemic.

“Dr Mike Ryan will lead the team from Geneva and will… provide us with constant advice while analysing our strategies, including the decisions we have taken as the Department of Health in our COVID-19 response,” said Health Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize.

The Minister announced during a virtual briefing on Wednesday where he provided an update on government’s efforts to fight Coronavirus.

The arrival of the team of experts comes as South Africa ranks in the top five globally in terms of the number of infections. Making the announcement, Mkhize thanked WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, for his continuous support and counsel.

“We see this as a great opportunity not only to improve our health strategies during this pandemic but also to accelerate our path towards health care reform,” said the Minister.

The first 17 experts will touch down on South African soil today and will complete a period of quarantine and initiation before being deployed within the department and across various provinces.


Sources: SA Government | World Health Organisation
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