African Health Ministers strategise for 70th Assembly meeting

Gloria Essien, Abuja

Health Ministers discuss ways to tackle diseases in Africa ahead of the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting coming up on Monday, May 22 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The African Union’s Health Ministers have urged member States to ride on the successes recorded in curtailing wild polio virus spread in the continent.

These they say would be through surveillance, trained staffs and routine immunization to address other health emergency outbreaks.

The ministers believed that the gains from various investments in controlling wild polio could be effectively deployed for other health related purposes.

The decision was reached at the first coordination meeting of Member States of the African Continent ahead of the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting billed for Monday, May 22 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The meeting also emphasised on 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 Ministers said that “the 70th WHA meeting has many agenda items and as such agreed to carefully articulate Africa’s position on all of them to maximise the collective gains for the continent.”

The meeting commended the prompt response of the WHO Regional Director 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.

Tackling diseases in Africa
“The African Union is determined to moving forward Health agenda by mobilising 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 representative of the African Union and Director of Social Affairs, Mrs. Amira ElFadil said.

Mrs ElFadil also emphasised the need for an effective African Union volunteer workforce. She encouraged member states to pay attention to developing accurate data that would inform policy and appropriate health interventions in the continent.

Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole thanked the WHO Regional Director for assisting in mobilising resources to address the recent detection of wild polio infection in the Northeast and meningitis outbreak in some states of the country.

Professor Adewole assured the gathering that the Nigerian government was determined to put these health challenges behind and move on to prevent future occurrence.

The WHO AFRO Regional Director, Dr Matshidiso Moeti chaired the meeting.

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere