Ministerial gathering to shape Africa’s health agenda opens in Brazzaville

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.

The 69th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa opened today in Brazzaville, with Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso calling for stronger health systems, concrete action on counterfeit medicine and universal access to health care.

The Congolese leader drew attention to ongoing health development initiatives in his country.

“Each meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa should better highlight decisions and facilitate the consideration of African health issues by bodies such as the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly, said President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. “The endeavours of African States should be complemented by the global momentum for health for all. This is one of the best bets for humanity.”

In his opening remarks, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus highlighted that many countries have made impressive progress in delivering essential health services at the district level, yet large gaps remain. Only one third of people in the 47 WHO Member States can access essential health services, and only one third can do so without fear of financial hardship.

“Strengthening primary health care must therefore be the number one priority for every country,” he said. “The best investment in primary health care is in human capital. Nurses, midwives and community health workers are especially important for delivering the services that can promote health and prevent people from needing a hospital.”

In welcoming the participants, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, highlighted progress made by countries: Access to HIV services has expanded significantly, with the number of people on antiretroviral therapy having more than doubled in the past six years. The region is recording some of the fastest declines globally in new cases of tuberculosis and is on the verge of polio eradication. The Regional Director noted that political will is needed to tackle the emerging burden of noncommunicable diseases, which are expected to account for an additional 28 million deaths in Africa in the coming decade.

“All the health priorities and challenges I have mentioned coincide with an opportunity – that the day for universal health coverage has finally come. If governments, partners, WHO and other United Nations agencies combine our forces towards UHC we will be able to make health for all a reality for people in our region,” said Dr Moeti.

She called for a minute of silence in honour of health workers who have lost their lives while on the job. She remarked that in the face of complex challenges, the Member States are better prepared to respond to emergencies but must overcome huge funding gaps in implementing national action plans for health security. She commended the DR Congo Government for demonstrating sound leadership and ownership of the response to the Ebola outbreak, in coordination with partners.

Among the issues on the agenda of the five-day meeting is the Regional Strategy for Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response which if implemented, will improve preparedness and response to disease outbreaks. Delegates will also discuss the strategic plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in the WHO African Region. The strategy provides guidance to countries to stem the tide of rising malnutrition, obesity and diet-related noncommunicable diseases by 2025. The Health Ministers will also discuss how to bring vector-borne diseases under control and how to strengthen district health systems for achieving universal health coverage. They will also the nominate the next Regional Director, who will serve a five-year term.

The Regional Committee is the highest decision-making body on health in the region, involving ministers of health from the Member States of the WHO African Region. It meets once a year to review critical health issues affecting the continent and to advise on appropriate strategies to improve health outcomes.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.Media filesDownload logo

Related Content

L’Oreal’s Hlengiwe Mathenjwa on how Covid-19 has impacted the beauty & skincare industry

The 111 year old French beauty giant L’Oreal has appointed Hlengiwe Mathenjwa as the new director of its largest manufacturing facility in the Africa and Middle East region. This appointment comes amid the Covid-19 storm that is ravishing most industries globally, Hlengiwe Mathenjwa joins CNBC Africa for more.

COVID-19: Rwandan bound containers held at Mombasa port

Over 2000 Rwanda bound containers of goods have been held in Kenya and Tanzania due to the delays in cargo clearance. According to Rwanda's Private Sector Federation, the move contradicts a comprehensive regional COVID-19 approach that was agreed on in dealing with the challenges of the virus on the cross-border businesses between member states. Economic Analyst, Ted Kaberuka joins CNBC Africa for more.

Atlas Mara’s Maurice Toroitich on the major drivers behind strong Q1 results

A more efficient approach, frugal is what some experts have called it, now that is the strategy taken by BPR Atlas Mara Rwanda Managing Director, Maurice Toroitich and it seems to be reaping results, well at least in the short run. He joins CNBC Africa for a look at the bank’s first quarter results.

Omnia delivers solid results from a stabilised business

South Africa's biggest fertilizer producer Omnia was profitable in the year to March after extensively restructuring its business units. Omnia CEO, Seelan Gobalsamy joins CNBC Africa to breakdown the results.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Uganda Securities Exchange CEO on how COVID-19 is impacting the bourse

The economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had wide severe impact on financial markets not leaving behind stocks, bond and commodity markets. Uganda Securities Exchange CEO, Paul Bwiso joins CNBC Africa for more.

COVID-19: How the pandemic is accelerating the digitalization of healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused huge disruptions in healthcare provision, highlighting the need to adopt and invest in digitalization. Dr. Wanjeri Millicent Loice, Director and Content Manager, Toto Health Kenya joins CNBC Africa for more.

AfDB’s Nnenna Nwabufo on how COVID-19 has impacted African economies

According to the African Development Bank’s revised African Economic Outlook, though the continent is expected to rebound next year; it could lose a quarter of a trillion dollars in economic output for the rest of this year and 2021. Nnenna Nwabufo, Acting Director-General of East Africa Regional Office at the AfDB joins CNBC Africa for more.

Kenyan sports minister Amina Mohamed to bid for top WTO job

The Geneva-based body is seeking a replacement for Brazil’s Roberto Azevedo who is stepping down a year early at the end of August at a critical juncture for the trade watchdog.

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

Steinhoff agrees to sell stake in Conforama France to Mobilux

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Scandal-hit Steinhoff International agreed to sell its shares in furniture retailer Conforama France to Mobilux Sàrl, the parent company...

Namibia to ground national carrier’s license over cash hole

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Cash-strapped Air Namibia will have its planes grounded at midnight on Wednesday after it failed to secure enough funding...

Uganda growth to sink as low as 0.4% this year – World Bank

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan economic growth is set to plunge to as low as 0.4% in 2020 from 5.6% last year as...

How retirement funds can contribute to rebuilding SA’s economy

Sanlam Benchmark Symposium: Sanlam has conducted research across a wide breadth of employers, retirement funds and professional consultants to benchmark their employee benefits experiences of the lock-down as well as their expectations of the future in a COVID-19 impacted economy. Chris Bishop spoke to Viresh Maharaj, Managing Executive, Sanlam Corporate Distribution, about the outcomes of the research and current trends in the Industry....
- Advertisement -