The 3rd Annual International Conference on Public Health in Africa (ICPHA) has officially opened in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka, with hundreds of delegates in attendance.
Zambia is hosting the conference from November, 27 to November, 30, 2023, under the theme: “breaking barriers: repositioning Africa in the global health architecture.”
The conference will bring together international delegates including Ministers, Heads of Organisations, the Academia, Researchers and Health Experts.
The objective of the conference is to raise awareness, show commitment and action at high level of government leadership, policy makers and public health officers.
Other objectives are to ensure that African governments take appropriate measures including legislative, administrative, social and education to tackle public heath crises.
The conference also wants to ensure that health systems are strengthened through emphasizing universal health through media coverage for sustainable and equitable development, and to rebuild multilateral organisations.
President Hakainde Hichilema officially opened the conference in Lusaka on Monday with a call to invest more in the manufacturing of drugs locally for various diseases.
“I remember when we had Covid-19 and we had to go round to look for vaccines but now we are manufacturing here in this country, I must say we were the first,” he said.
Hichilema noted that the African continent was becoming more self conscious on what needs to be done to improve the lives of its people and political will was needed.
He revealed that under his administration, the yearly budgetary allocation had been increased from seven percent to 12 percent in order to help support the health system in the country.
“Public health requires coordination in order to enhance health systems in Zambia and other African countries,” he noted.
Jean Kaseya, the Centre for Disease Control Director General expressed concern that currently only five countries on the continent are able to respond effectively to public health emmergencies such as outbreaks.
Kaseya noted that Africa required 25,000 front line Epidemiologists but currently only had 5, 000 and that this was too low to handle any outbreak effectively.
“Only 25 percent to 30percent of medicines used on the continent is manufactured locally, only 1 percent of vaccines used in Africa are coming from the continent,” he said.
Kaseya noted the need to strengthen the medical manufacturing capabilities on the continent in order to reduce on the vulnerabilities to outbreaks.
He indicated that CDC africa had embarked on a programme to ensure that at least 50 percent of drugs are coming from Africa by 2040.
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