About 600 million people across the African continent do not have access to health services. To address this, we must make increased investments in physical facilities, medical equipment, drugs, and trained personnel.
The fourth edition of the Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC 2021) called on stakeholders for greater cross-border and multi-sectoral collaboration to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa.
The 3-day virtual conference, which began on 8 March 2021 under the theme “Decade for Action: Driving Momentum to Achieve UHC in Africa”, attracted 3,000 participants logging in from 98 countries across the African continent and beyond, including high profile guests and speakers such as H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, among others.
Held against the backdrop of COVID-19 recovery efforts AHAIC 2021 provided a platform for representatives from the health sector, political leadership, development organizations, private sector, academia, and civil society to explore the continent’s health challenges, identify opportunities and propose sustainable solutions for, and by, Africa.
Conversations on the COVID-19 vaccine, health financing, health systems strengthening, technology and innovation, youth engagement, and gender equity in health leadership took center stage, with speakers repeatedly calling for a unified, pan-African approach built on stronger political will and action to drive momentum towards achieving UHC in Africa by 2030.
Speaking when he officially opened the conference, President Kenyatta called for greater political will, collaboration, and coordination among African nations to make UHC a reality and highlighted the need for countries to focus on investment in primary health care, expand affordability and harness the innovativeness of youth to promote development and uptake of e-health solutions.
“Currently, about 600 million people across the African continent do not have access to health services. To address this, we must make increased investments in physical facilities, medical equipment, drugs, and trained personnel,” said President Kenyatta.
On vaccine equity, availability, affordability, and delivery, stakeholders reiterated the need for Africa to urgently create its own capacity to manufacture and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, in response to heightened nationalism that has threatened to deny lower- and middle-income countries – many of them in Africa – access to the critical resource as developed countries race to stockpile the vaccine.
“In order to ensure vaccine equity, it is important that we build Africa’s manufacturing capacity. We have seen it with the COVID-19 pandemic, from personal protective equipment (PPE) to vaccines, lack of equity in distribution is affecting many developing countries that don’t have manufacturing capacity,” Dr. Tedros.
Article first published on sokodirectory.com