69th session of WHO committee for the African continent concludes

Following the work in the 69th session of the Regional Committee for the World Health Organization for Africa (WHO-Africa) held on 19 to 23 August in Brazzaville, several recommendations were made to the State members, and for the structure of the UN for protecting the nations in the continent from diseases that decimate them, which constitutes an obstacle in their development.

Among the diseases spread by vectors, malaria, arbovirus and schistosomiasis play a large role in sickness and mortality in Africa: 17% of the global figure with an annual mortality rate of 700,000 of which 90% is due to malaria. 70% is concentrated in ten states (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the United Republic of Tanzania). On account of this, and in response to the control of vectors, the state members were invited to develop national research programmes applied in entomology to improve the coordination of the activities concerning the monitoring of diseases transmitted by vectors, to create interdepartmental and multi sectorial work groups, and national committees for involving all those interested in this fight.

It is hoped that WHO-Africa supports the training of health professionals in the control of vectors, the research in public health to alleviate environmental change, and support laboratory services for the detection of arbovirus.

Furthermore, non-communicable diseases including heart diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases pose serious problems to public health. To avoid premature deaths caused by these illnesses, it is appropriate for state members to develop laws and policies on alcohol control to regulate consumption, and to invest in the integration of non-alcoholic illnesses.

The 2019-2020 strategic plan has been introduced to reduce the double burden of malnutrition. To support the State Members in this fight, WHO-Africa and their partners will assure regional contextualization of the directives and will prioritize nutrition in early childhood. This will also imply strengthening of training institutions and monitoring in this area. The regional workforce for nutrients shall be revised, and the nutrition thresholds shall be updated.

Finally, the Regional Committee took note of reports on several documents including the report on the implementation of a regional strategy to control cancer, and the implementation of the framework of adaptation for public health in Canada.

-“We are aware of the challenges for the health of Africans, and we are obliged to obtain results. People are watching us,” said Regional Director of WHO-Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, who was re-elected for another four-year term in office.

The Minister for Health and Population of the Republic of Congo, Jacqueline Mikolo Lidia, acting as President of the 69th Regional Committee meeting will work with the regional office and will ensure the actions by State Members, politicians in charge and partners are supported. The minister will also coordinate the group work of the African countries and the WHO in the 72nd World Health Assembly that will be held in May 2020 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Togo has been designated to be next year’s venue for the 70th session of the Regional Committee for the African continents.

Source: Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office

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