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Public Health in Africa: Ghebreyesus harps on strong system

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African countries must embrace building strong institutions for the continent to meet the desired goals in public health delivery system.

The Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, made the remark on Tuesday in Kigali, during his presentation at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Conference on Public Health In Africa (CPHIA-2022).

The WHO boss, who made his presentation, virtually, said it was unfortunate that the most marginalised communities were facing the biggest challenges.

“The most vulnerable and marginalised communities were the most affected.

“Building on the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has taken key proposals for a stronger architecture for health emergency, preparedness and expertise.

“This includes stronger governance, stronger finances, stronger systems and tools.

“Lots of data have already been put in place, such as an international report on pandemic preparedness, the pattern, the leverage you have for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, and the strangest health emergencies,” Ghebreyesus said.

Ghebreyesus recalled that the global body had helped establish the MRA, deployed in South Africa, to give low and lower middle income countries that know how to rapidly produce their own vaccines.

“Earlier this year, I was delighted to be at the ground breaking of a new (vaccine) manufacturing facility in Kigali; and preparing details on modification.

“WHO is working closely with the African CDC to strengthen our confidence victims is engaged outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics.

“As our continent recovers, it’s also essential that all countries invest in safe public health systems, especially at the primary level. That is the best investment that is safe and fair enough,” Ghebreyesus said.

Also speaking at the event, Dr Ahmed Ouma, the acting Director-General of Africa Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), expressed joy on the occasion, saying: “Today is a day full of joy for me and Africa CDC.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CPHIA 2022 is the first in-person edition.

According to Ouma, the conference is a platform where African and international experts have come together to find solutions for the public health challenges of Africa.

He noted that the conference was aimed at guiding implementation of solutions to make a real and lasting change, globally.

“This is a conference put together by Africans but is for everyone; we welcome all our friends and partners from around the globe to join us as we set our agenda and priorities.

“Africa CDC, as an autonomous health institution of the African Union, is a key agency in delivering Africa’s vision of Agenda 2063: ‘The Africa We Want’.

“We have managed complex health emergencies and disease threats and gained valuable experience and lessons in the process.

“We have become quite good at harnessing expertise and local resources as we respond to some of the most challenging public health events in our continent, indeed, the world has known.

“We have decided that we will turn these lessons and experiences into opportunities.

“Oportunities to grow our capacities for prevention and response; opportunities to strengthen our health systems; opportunities to expand the involvement of our young people in our work of safeguarding Africa’s health.

“I am very pleased to see the early results of the actions we have taken with these opportunities,” Ouma said.

He explained that one of such early result was the involvement of the youth, noting that the Africa CDC held a successful and rewarding Youth Pre-Conference on Dec. 10-11 in Kigali.

“One significant lesson that we have learnt is that it is time for Africa to take ownership and responsibility in shaping our present and our future.

“We recognise the crucial importance of creating a space where ideas and insights are shared among the brightest African and international minds.

“A space where innovation can flow, a space where these ideas are turned into concrete solutions for ‘Mama Afrika’.

“A space where we welcome ideas from all over the world because we have chosen not to work alone. This conference is that space,” he said. 

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