KIGALI - Regional health officials Friday agreed to set up an African Health Emergency Fund.
The fund will support the investigation of and response to epidemics and other public health emergencies across the continent. It is to be established under the Africa Union Commission.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the African Region, Luis Sambo, announced the move shortly after the completion of the five-day 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.
“Health officials attending this meeting have endorsed the move to set up the fund and agreed for the same to be presented to the heads of all member states for signing and adoption,” Sambo said.
“Member states will be required to contribute to the joint fund after its establishment.”
According to Sambo, priority areas to benefit from the fund include maternal health initiatives, health research projects, and mechanisms aimed at responding to epidemics and other public health emergencies.
“Funding is essential for addressing all health priority areas in the region. In order to address emerging public health emergencies and to respond to epidemics, member states have suggested setting up a joint fund,” Sambo said.
“Most of the resolutions made here in strengthening our health systems will also benefit from the joint fund.”
Citing the ongoing floods in Senegal and Burkina Faso, Sambo emphasized the need for a dedicated fund to investigate and help in responding to public health emergencies emerging from all over Africa.
“Currently we are faced with a flooding disaster in Senegal and Burkina Faso. We need to collaborate in addressing this disaster’s aftermath and plan for the future emergencies such as this.”
The African Union commission has been charged with the establishment of this fund and in advocating to member states to contribute to it.