African health ministers brainstorm on response to emergencies, others
African health ministers and government representatives, yesterday, opened the 73rd session of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa to discuss and agree on measures for addressing health challenges and promoting good health and well-being.
The yearly gathering of WHO Africa’s highest decision-making body is taking place this year in Gaborone, Botswana, from August 28 to September 1.
WHO African Region, in a statement, said the meeting will focus on a range of strategies to bolster health systems, enhance readiness and response to health emergencies, reinforce ways to tackle nutrition and food insecurity crises, and address the threat of infectious and chronic diseases, among other challenges.
It said with the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic now ended, countries are striving to rebuild from its devastating impact on economies, health and livelihoods, and drawing lessons on how to better prepare for future pandemics and shocks.
Around 800 participants, including representatives from United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations, civil society, academia and development partners, are attending the five-day meeting, either in-person or virtually.
WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “I urge all Member States to take decisive action to provide health by reorienting your health systems towards primary health as the foundation of universal health coverage. I urge all Member States to take action to protect health by strengthening your defences against health emergencies.”
This year’s Regional Committee coincides with WHO’s 75th anniversary, during which year-long activities are held to celebrate success in health and accelerate efforts to address current and future challenges.
President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said: “We are faced with a multiplicity of problems, worsening poverty, humanitarian crises, food insecurity…which has a negative impact on our health and well-being. Now, more than ever, there is a critical need to enhance international collaboration and global solidarity, building on experience from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
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