Air Vice-Marshall Cristian Kobla Dovlo has said that despite advances in science and predictive modelling, the country still lacks the ability to predict the nature, timing, severity or outcome of most catastrophic pandemics with great certainty.

He noted that the effects can be mitigated by careful preparation and planning, saying such mitigation requires effective coordination across governments, military and non-government organisations, which could lead to the development of a flexible pandemic disaster response plan that is interoperable with response partners.

?A global pandemic has greater potential for affecting population morbidity and mortality than any other existing public health threat, and thereby has the potential of disrupting society on multiple levels,? he said.

AVC Dovlo said this at the opening ceremony of the United States Africa Command?s (AFRICOM) Pandemic Response Programme (PRP) at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra.

He said the conference was designed to strengthen African National Civil-Military capacity to plan for and respond to a pandemic disaster in the context of our various countries? national disaster response plans.

In addition, he said the military in each of the countries represented will play a key role, in connection with other ministries and non-governmental entities, in maintaining security, providing logistic support for food, medicine and other key commodities, and provision of augmented medical care.

?Through this past, present and future pandemic response engagement, delegations will have an opportunity to look at their past and present activities and develop a project for future pandemic response plan capacity and capability building.?

Sheila Sisulu, Assistant Director of World Food Programme, Hunger Solutions said: ?We all know that we cannot fully prepare for a pandemic, but we do know that there are steps we can take that will help us to save time and money, and respond more effectively when disaster strikes.?

She said one important step in ensuring more effective response plans and approaches is to look at the capacity gaps and to formulate a roadmap for addressing these gaps through capacity development activities.

According to her, comprehensive disaster management is not only about response but also building resilience at both national and community levels where possible, so that the nation can work more effectively and efficiently together when disaster strikes.

By Benson AFFUL

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