………..WHO AFRO 59th session and a few more resolutions


by ndubuisi edeoga

Four resolutions aimed at scaling up action in areas deemed key to improving the health situation on the African continent were proposed at the 59th Session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa which just ended Kigali, Rwanda, in attendance were African health ministers, with their official and unofficial retinue as usual. (if you have not been to Kigali…you should! If only to understand hpw far way we are in Nigeria to a decent standard of living)

Nigeria and many other African countries seem to have given up on the MDG goals, you can read more here:

In some Nigerian states the MDG is a source of contention as exemplified by this statement from one of our dailies (quote)

“The Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, visibly worried by the grim reality evident in his state, ordered the probe of all the contracts awarded under the MDGs in the state since 2006. According to him, inspite of the huge sum totaling N3.7bn “claimed to have been spent” by the Federal Government on MDGs- related projects in Niger state, “there was nothing on ground to show that such amount was committed to development projects in the state”.

Some of the new resolution sound and look good on paper…….. as always:

1.Tackling drug resistance related to AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria;

The resolution on drug resistance related to AIDS, TB and malaria urged countries to establish drug resistance and drug efficacy monitoring systems; strengthen procurement and management of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria supplies; and develop and implement policies and strategies to improve diagnosis and effective early treatment.

2.Strengthening outbreak preparedness and response in the context of the current influenza pandemic.

Regarding the current influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, the meeting urged countries to: ensure the highest level of government support in addressing the threat; strengthen national capacity for influenza diagnosis, and of health services to reduce transmission; periodically update preparedness and response plans; implement communication strategies that regularly provide updated information; and contribute regularly to the African Health Emergency Fund.

3.Policy orientation on the establishment of centers of excellence for disease surveillance, public health laboratories, food and medicines regulation.

To boost national capacities for effective and comprehensive disease surveillance and response, laboratory investigation and food and medicines regulation, the meeting urged countries to conduct an assessment of existing infrastructure and human capacity to determine their state of preparedness to set up centers of excellence; develop a national policy frame-work on centers of excellence; sensitize relevant national departments and ministries to the need to create centers of excellence and secure multiple funding for centers of excellence to guarantee their sustained performance.

4.Accelerating progress towards malaria elimination in the African region.

On prospects for malaria elimination in the region, the meeting adopted a resolution calling on member-states to integrate malaria control in their national development plans and poverty reduction strategies; support ongoing research and development initiatives; strengthen national health information systems, and invest more in health promotion, community education and participation.

To these I say yes we can especially the part about community education and participation.

My prescription:

Let the 60th session next year be spent on evaluating which of the resolutions in 2009 are implemented in our countries. Let the Ministers go back home and tell the peopel what they have resolved to do and ask that the people hold them accountable if they do no deliver on their words.

Nigerians…note the resoolutions. Hold your Government accountable for their delivery!

Enough of meetings and resolutions…enough…..Lets start implementing!!


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

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