WHO official urges more investment in Africa's health systems
World Health Oganization image.
World Health Oganization image.

World Health Oganization image.

African countries need more investment to build stronger and more resilient health systems on the continent, a World Health Organization (WHO) official has told the opening of the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022) in Kigali, Rwanda's capital.

"COVID-19 has underscored the importance of investing in public health and stronger health systems to prepare for and respond to emergencies while maintaining essential health services. Strong country-level readiness and preparedness of core teams yield good results," WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said Tuesday.

"Increased investment in building effective systems using the primary healthcare approach is pivotal to equitable and sustainable access to essential health services without financial difficulties and safeguarding communities from future threats," she said, adding that partnership with the private sector remains crucial in this regard.

CPHIA 2022, which runs from Dec. 13 to 15, seeks ways to accelerate progress against the continent's most significant health challenges and build more resilient health systems.

The conference is convened on the back of COVID-19 pandemic impacts that not only exerted enormous pressure on health systems but also sounded the alarm on the need to reform and revitalize the continent's health system.

The Africa region celebrates progress in health, where estimates show that coverage of essential health services has increased from 39 percent in 2010 to 51 percent in 2022, Moeti said.

Despite this coverage, most countries remain off track to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, she said.

The conference is hosted by the African Union and Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in partnership with the government of Rwanda. Participants include ministers of health, leading researchers and scientists.

In a statement, Rwandan Health Minister Sabin Nsanzimana said the meeting offered a great opportunity for leaders in the public health sector to discuss ways of building more resilient systems that will allow countries to better respond to emerging health threats while continuing to address long-standing infectious and non-communicable diseases.

"Recurrent outbreaks highlight gaps in our health systems," he said.

"This conference brings essential conversations about Africa to Africa -- conversations on topics like pandemic preparedness, increasing local vaccine production, tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases and African leadership in health," said Agnes Binagwaho, the conference's co-chair.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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