African health ministers have adopted a new eight-year strategy to transform the continent’s health security and emergency response, requiring US$4 billion annually.
The Regional Strategy for Health Security and Emergencies 2022-2030 was adopted in Lome, the Togolese capital, at the 72nd session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa.
WHO estimated that Africa would need the funds for public health and prepare the continent for the next pandemic.
It said the funds are needed from both international and domestic sources.
The member states agreed to reach 12 targets by 2030 to strengthen their capacity to prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to health emergencies, including 80 per cent of member states having predictable and sustainable health security financing.
Other agreements included 90 per cent mobilising an effective response to public health emergencies within 24 hours of detection and all countries having 80 per cent of health districts with functional service delivery and quality improvement programs.
“Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the top causes of epidemics in the region were cholera, measles, yellow fever, meningococcal meningitis, influenza and viral haemorrhagic fevers, most of which are preventable by strengthening routine immunisation,” WHO noted.
It added that COVID-19 underscored the need to improve surveillance, diagnostics, treatment and health services in Africa.
WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said COVID-19 was a wake-up call for the African region to prioritise building resilient health systems capable of providing quality healthcare while coping with public health emergencies.