NAIROBI, March 11 (Xinhua) — The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) 2021 wrapped up on Thursday evening with a call for investments to strengthen the response to the continent’s growing disease burden.
More than 3,000 delegates participated in the March 8-10 virtual forum that endorsed a communique urging greater political goodwill, financing, adoption of technology, multi-stakeholder engagement in order to revitalize Africa’s healthcare systems and ensure they are resilient in the face of pandemics.
The summit that was organized by Nairobi-based Amref Health Africa under the theme of “Decade of Action: Driving Momentum to Achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa,” discussed innovative approaches to hasten the realization of health-related universal goals in the continent.
Debate around COVID-19 vaccine, health financing, technology, innovation, youth engagement and political leadership to drive momentum towards attaining health for all goals in Africa, took center-stage at the summit.
Participants who included health ministers, industry executives and grassroots campaigners reiterated the need for the continent to strengthen its capacity to manufacture essential medicine and vaccines against infectious diseases.
The delegates said that Africa should focus on local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics amid an access gap linked to hoarding by major powers.
High-profile delegates who addressed the virtual forum including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta were united in the call for domestic financing of Africa’s primary health care system.
“Currently, about 600 million people across the African continent do not have access to health services,” Kenyatta said at the summit’s opening on Monday.
“To address this, we must make increased investments in physical facilities, medical equipment, drugs, and trained personnel,” he added.
Among landmark events held on the sidelines of the summit was the launch of Status of UHC in Africa and Africa Sustainability Index reports that shed light on challenges and opportunities around the continent’s quest to ensure all citizens have access to quality healthcare services.
Delegates reiterated the call for speedy ratification of the African Medicines Agency by African Union member states to strengthen regulatory frameworks governing local manufacturing of life-saving drugs.
The summit adopted 8 action plans revolving around the themes of leadership, accountability, technology and health security to accelerate progress towards attainment of health for all goals in Africa.
Article first published on china.org.cn