WHA: Africa Health Ministers Strategize
- Written by Oluwafemi Olowookere
The Health Ministers of The African Union has urged member States to ride on the successes recorded in curtailing wild polio virus spread in the continent through surveillance, trained staffs and routine immunization to address other health emergency outbreaks. The body believed that the gains from various investment in controlling wild polio could be effectively and efficiently deployed for other health related purposes. The decision was reached at the first coordination meeting of Member States of the African Continent in preparatory for the 70th World Health Assembly(WHA) Meeting Scheduled to start on Monday,May 22, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The meeting which was chaired by the WHO AFRO Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, also emphasized the need to strengthen the Health System especially by addressing the Human Resource gap, acceleration of local production and supply of vaccines in Africa to meet the urgent local demand.
The meeting noted that the 70th WHA meeting has many agenda items that has bearing on Africa, and as such agreed to carefully articulate Africa’s position on all of them to maximize the collective gains for the continent.
The meeting commended the prompt response of the WHO RD to the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC, by visiting the country to assess the Ebola outbreak situation, and called on member States to step up surveillance.
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the African Union (AU) and Director of Social Affairs Her Excellency Mrs. Amira ElFadil also assured that AU is determined to moving forward the African Health agenda by mobilizing resources for better healthcare financing, addressing the vulnerability of the continent to preventable diseases , build a resilient health system for Africa as well as supporting the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to effectively handle diseases like Malaria, Yellow Fever, Ebola, Meningitis and so on.
The Director also emphasized the need for an effective African Union Volunteer Workforce. She also encouraged member states to pay attention to developing accurate data that will inform policy and appropriate health interventions in the continent.
The Minister of Health, Nigeria, Professor Isaac Adewole, thanked the WHO RD for helping Nigeria mobilized resources to address the recent detection of wild polio infection in the Northeast of the country and meningitis outbreak in some states of the country. He assured the gathering that the Federal Government of Nigeria is determined to put these health challenges behind and move on to prevent future occurrence.