African leaders, researchers, and scientists on Tuesday commenced a meeting to discuss public health in the region and proffer possible solutions to the continent’s most significant health challenges.
The discussion is holding at the 2nd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022), in Kigali, Rwanda from 13-15 December. It is organised by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) in partnership with the Government of Rwanda.
The organisers said various heads of states would be present at the three-day event to discuss ways to improve health system in the region which is said to be targeted at building on conversations started at the 2021 edition.
The 2021 edition was said to have focused on building more resilient health systems in the region.
The Co-chair of CPHIA 2022, Senait Fisseha, said there has been an incredible amount of interest in CPHIA 2022 from across Africa and around the world.
Ms Fisseha said it is clear this conference is needed now more than ever.
“Last year’s virtual conference, CPHIA 2021, was a tremendous success and this year’s convening we’re excited to build on that for the second edition,” she said.
“We hope to continue using this extraordinary conference as a platform to elevate and advance African voices and solutions for years to come.”
Several distinguished speakers are expected to speak at the high-level event. They include Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal and Chairperson of the African Union; Édouard Ngirente, Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda; Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and Haikande Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia.
CPHIA 2022 is expected to feature nine plenary sessions, 14 parallel sessions, nine abstract-driven sessions, a high-level ministerial session, and opening and closing ceremonies, according to the organisers.
There will also be more than 50 official in-person side events in Kigali beginning on 12 December, plus an additional 10 side events held virtually.
Ahead of the event, Agnes Binagwaho, CPHIA 2022 Co-chair, in a statement, said the conference brings essential conversations about Africa to Africa.
Ms Binagwaho said the conversation bothers around topics like pandemic preparedness, increasing local vaccine production, tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases, and African leadership in health.
She said the conference is coming at a time when many African countries continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, “which not only exerted enormous pressure on health systems but also sounded the alarm on the need to reform and revitalise the continent’s health system.”
She said the witnessed emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola and the growing burden of NCDs further pose a grave threat to the health and lives of millions in Africa.
Health system governance
In his remarks, the acting director, Africa CDC, Ahmed Ouma, said it’s time that countries collectively invest in stronger health system governance, including multisectoral collaboration within countries.
Mr Ouma said Africa CDC has presented its vision of a new public health order, which aims to ensure that effective health systems exist before a crisis and remain resilient during and post-crisis.
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He said CPHIA 2022 will shine a spotlight on this new approach to public health shaped by local leadership and regional solutions.
Other leaders expected to participate in the conference include the WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus; Salim Karim, Director, Center for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA); Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS; Cheikh Seydi, Director, Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Claude Muvunyi, Director-General for Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).
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