Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Cameroon Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC)

Ambassador’s Remarks for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Cameroon Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC)

H.E. Philémon Yang, Prime Minister of Cameroon;
H.E. André Mama Fouda, Minister of Health;
Members of the Government of Cameroon;
WHO Representative and representatives of UN Agencies;
Representatives of bilateral organizations;
USG Interagency Team;

I would like to start by acknowledging the passing of a great American:  George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States.  He contributed so much to our country and to the world in the course of his long career, and he will be missed.

C’est avec grand plaisir que j’assiste à la cérémonie de coupure du ruban du Centre national des opérations d’urgence pour la santé publique au Cameroun.

La construction du centre fait partie de l’engagement pris par le gouvernement des États-Unis d’aider le gouvernement camerounais à mieux collecter, analyser et diffuser des informations cruciales sur la santé publique.

Le centre OPS d’urgence sera une plateforme efficace pour le Cameroun dans la gestion des situations sanitaires d’urgence.

Il favorisera une collaboration étroite avec les centres d’opérations d’urgence de la santé publique d’autres pays et constitue un élément important de la création d’un institut national de la santé publique au Cameroun.

Monsieur le Premier ministre, en mai 2015, lorsque vous avez lancé l’agenda camerounais pour la sécurité de la santé dans le monde, vous avez engagé l’ensemble de votre pays dans cette initiative.

Vous avez engagé le Cameroun à prévenir, détecter et réagir aux épidémies.

Vous êtes nombreux aujourd’hui à assister à cet événement, il y a trois ans et demi.

Depuis lors, le Gouvernement camerounais, avec le soutien du gouvernement américain et d’autres organisations multilatérales et bilatérales, a réalisé des progrès remarquables dans le renforcement de sa riposte aux menaces pour la santé publique.

Le Cameroun a considérablement amélioré ses capacités dans les domaines suivants: surveillance, renforcement des systèmes de laboratoire, développement de la main-d’œuvre et gestion des situations d’urgence.

Since May 2015, the U.S. government has supported the Cameroonian government in strengthening global health security through the efforts of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

With CDC, Cameroon has created rapid response teams in each of its ten regions.  The response teams for Center and Littoral Regions supported the African Cup of Nations events in 2016 and 2017.  The rapid response teams also responded to the tragic train derailment in Esseka in 2016.

With U.S. government support, seven officers from the human and animal health sectors have been trained in emergency management through CDC’s Public Health Emergency Management Fellowship in Atlanta.

Cameroon focused its flagship project on the emergency management of cholera, and the reinforced capacity has been instrumental in responding to the recent cholera outbreak.

The Cameroonian government and technical partners did not wait for the construction of the OPS center to demonstrate their readiness to respond to public health emergencies.

An Incident Management System was established, Standard Operating Procedures were initiated, and emergency management activities were implemented to respond to the outbreak.

Working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health, DTRA supported the overall ops center’s design and construction effort.

The entire project cost approximately $3.5 million, or 2 billion CFA for construction and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment.

We commend the Minister of Health for his commitment in ensuring that Cameroon adheres to the International Health Regulations.

Cameroon serves as an example to member states to develop, strengthen, and maintain their capacity to respond promptly and effectively to health threats and public health emergencies of international concern.

In celebrating Cameroon’s public health achievements, we are also aware of the need for continued efforts to ensure global health security.

Through this newly-constructed Emergency Operations Center the U.S. government is working with the Government of Cameroon to strengthen emergency management capacity here and in the region.  Such programs help improve health security for future generations.

Thank you very much, and long live the cooperation between the peoples of Cameroon and of the United States of America.