A three-day International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022), hosted by the Africa CDC and African Union, in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and Rwanda Biomedical Center started in Kigali on December 13, 2022.
It is aimed at building strategies for Africa’s sustainable universal health systems against infectious diseases and other health threats.
The conference, is the second of its kind to be held on the continent, bringing together around 5,000 participants from Africa and delegates from other continents.
It is organized under the theme, Preparedness for future Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Recovery: Africa at a Crossroad.
African leaders, researchers, policymakers and stakeholders at the conference will share scientific findings and public health standpoints on collective research, innovation and public health across the continent.
While officially opening the conference, the Prime Minister of Rwanda Dr. Edouard Ngirente called upon investors to venture more in Africa’s public health systems that are resilient to infectious diseases and other emerging health threats.
“There is need to put health systems that do not only ensure universal access to health services but also provide quality health services. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind the correlation between the health of our citizens and economic growth,,”said Prime Minister Ngirente.
According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the 38.4 million people living with HIV are in Africa (2021); malaria kills nearly half a million people each year, with children under five being the most affected.
About 90% of all malaria deaths occur on the African continent. The continent is the second (after Asia) most affected by tuberculosis, with 23% of new cases identified in 2021.
According to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, preparedness to deal with heath threats will strongly depend on collaboration, a reason why the World Health Organization works with the Africa CDC to break Africa’s differences in dealing with Pandemic or epidemic outbreaks.
In his remarks delivered at the conference virtually, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus stated, “AS our continent recovers, it is also essential that all countries invest in strengthening their health systems, especially primary health care, on their journey towards universal health coverage. That is the best investment, healthier and safer.”
Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director of Africa CDC also emphasized building a space where ideas and incites are shared, for confident professionals to implement proposed actions, based on challenges.
Tonga Chilalika , Advocacy Officer from South Africa and one of the participants at CPHIA 2022 said that Investing in Health care, especially with manufacturing ought to correlate with institutional and regional collaboration. She believes this will enable having vast ideas on scaling up universal health care and addressing threats.