Spurred on by the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on fragile health systems, African health ministers have adopted a new eight-year strategy to transform health security and emergency response in the region.
The regional strategy for health security and emergencies 2022-2030, approved at the seventy-second session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Commission for Africa in Lomé, requires at least $4 billion (N2.8 trillion). annually to reduce the health and socio-economic impact of public health emergencies.
The $4 billion is needed annually from international and domestic sources to fully fund the region’s core health security capabilities and better prepare for the next pandemic. This equates to approximately US$3 per person per year.
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By adopting the strategy, Member States agreed to achieve 12 targets by 2030, which will strengthen their capacity to prevent, prepare, detect and respond to health emergencies, with 80% of Member States having on predictable and sustainable health security financing.
dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said: “COVID-19 is a wake-up call for the African region to prioritize building resilient health systems that can provide quality healthcare while coping with emergencies. in the field of public health.
“There is increasing recognition that public health emergencies pose an increasing threat to global economies and societies, underscoring the need for a one-health approach and investment in prevention and preparedness. By investing now, we can prevent economic and social collapse in the future.”
The new strategy also includes strengthening partnership and multisectoral cooperation mechanisms, ensuring sustainable and predictable investments and reusing resources from polio and COVID-19 eradication to drive strategic investments in public health emergency systems and tools. support.
Globally, the African region reports the worst burden of public health emergencies, with more than 100 such events per year. Before the emergence of COVID-19, the leading causes of epidemics in the region were cholera, measles, yellow fever, meningococcal meningitis, influenza and viral hemorrhagic fevers, most of which can be prevented by boosting routine immunization.