Health officials from across Africa yesterday agreed to take a tougher stance to speed up the implementation of various health policies in a bid to improve health conditions on the continent.
This was revealed during the closure of the five-day 59th World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Conference for Africa.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Richard Sezibera presented the resolutions of the session which were accepted by the 45 members of the committee.
Among the many decisions, the health officials agreed to implement policies and strategies that improve access to correct diagnosis and effective treatment, set up better monitoring systems and mobile resources for dealing with drug resistant Tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria.
Members also agreed to strengthen preparedness and response for the current influenza pandemic and intensify actions for prevention of HIV and Tuberculosis co-infections.
Strategies to lower maternal and child mortality rates also topped the agenda.
“All the strategies that have been adopted to accelerate health progress in the region have already been implemented in Rwanda.
What matters now is to increase the level of progress on the different policies and that is what we are doing,” Sezibera said.
Mali’s Health Minister, Oumar Ibrahima Tourè, cited maternal mortality as one of the major issues that have been raised during the summit adding that it is one of the priority areas that his government will address immediately.
“The maternal death rates in Africa are very alarming despite progress attained in other areas. It is not right for a woman to die while giving life.
So our health system will ensure increased interventions in curbing the death rate of mothers,” Tourè emphasized.
The Minister of Swaziland also said that the issue of HIV/AIDS remains a very challenging matter in his country, but he believes that a lot of emphasis will be drawn to tackling HIV/ AIDS together with Tuberculosis as they are co-related.
The 60th summit is set to be held next year, in Equatorial Guinea.