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Public health conference in Africa opens in Zambia

By Xinhua

LUSAKA, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — The Third International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) opened here Monday with a call for increased partnership and investment to improve healthcare delivery. Held under the theme, “Breaking Barriers: Repositioning Africa in the Global Health Architecture,” the four-day conference has brought together researchers, policymakers, health ministers, among others to share scientific findings, collaborate on research and implementation as well as chart a secure future for the continent. The conference has also provided a unique platform for the over 5,000 delegates to reflect on lessons learned in health and science and align a way forward for creating more resilient health systems. Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema underscored the importance of collaboration and leadership at all levels of the health system in Africa. “Public health requires us to work in unison. The thing about health is that there is no territorial ground. You can’t say this is my area and will do it my own way,” he said. He said collaboration will result in improved efficiency in healthcare delivery even in times when resources are scarce. According to him, the COVID-19 taught African countries lessons on the importance of working together. Hichilema said leaders in Africa have agreed to work together to ensure that the continent gets the best of vaccines and other medical supplies to avoid what happened during the COVID-19 era when the continent was behind in receiving the vaccines. He said it was time Africa started moving with the rest of the world even in areas of vaccine production and expressed happiness that some countries have already started manufacturing vaccines. He further called for robust investments in health systems, adding that Zambia has increased budgetary allocation from 7 percent per annum to 12 percent in the past two years. He, however, called for prudent utilization of resources in the health sector and the need to invest in areas that will ensure effective health delivery. Prime Minister of Namibia Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said there was a need for African countries to put in place robust, resilient and sustainable healthcare systems built on the foundation of primary health care. She said good health was important as no country could prosper or develop if its citizens lacked access to good quality healthcare services. According to her, there was a need for countries to put enough resources for the attainment of health for all goals. Jean Kaseya, the director-general of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), said the theme for this year’s conference calls on African countries to start thinking beyond traditional healthcare systems. He said it was important for countries to harness technology, embrace equity and social justice and foster principles of collaboration. “It challenges us to look at issues that have hindered Africa’s progress in public health. It calls upon us to redefine our position in the global health architecture,” he said. According to him, there was a need for African countries to break the barriers that have hindered progress in the health sector and forge a new public health order which will be resilient, equitable and meet the challenges of the future. Enditem

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