Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Stakeholders Brainstorm On Africa’s Research, Innovation At Public Health Conference  

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The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the second International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2022) aims to significantly advance efforts to strengthen research, innovation and emergency management in Africa. 

In his remarks at a side event at the ongoing second annual international conference on public health in Africa (CPHIA 2022) in Kigali, Rwanda, the acting director, CDC Africa, Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma said that the timing of the conference was critical, given that many African countries continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which not only exerted enormous pressure on health systems but also sounded the alarm on the need to reform and revitalise the continent’s health system. 

He said that, additionally, the witnessed emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease outbreaks such as Ebola and the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) further pose a grave threat to the health and lives of millions on the continent. 

“It’s time countries collectively invest in stronger health system governance, including multi-sectoral collaboration within countries,” he said.

In his remarks, the CPHIA 2022 co-chair and vice-president of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Prof. Senait Fisseha said there has been an incredible amount of interest in CPHIA 2022 from across Africa and around the world. “This conference is needed now more than ever.” 

According to Fisseha, last year’s virtual conference was a tremendous success. “We are excited to build on that for this year’s edition. We hope to continue using this extraordinary conference as a platform to elevate and advance African voices and solutions for years to come,” she said. 

Similarly, the CPHIA 2022 co-chair, Prof. Agnes Binagwaho said that the continent is grateful to the Africa CDC and the CPHIA 2022 co-hosts the Rwandan government for bringing the continent together this year and driving progress on the continent. 

Binagwaho, who is also the vice-chancellor and professor of paediatrics at the University of Global Health Equity, said that the conference brings essential conversations – on pandemic preparedness, increasing local vaccine production, tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases and African leadership in health – about Africa to Africa. 

Earlier, the Rwandan minister of health, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana said that Africa CDC has presented its vision of a new public health order which aims to ensure that effective health systems exist before a crisis and remain resilient during and post-crisis. 

Nsanzimana said that CPHIA 2022 would shine a spotlight on this new approach to public health shaped by local leadership and regional solutions.

“Recurrent outbreaks highlight gaps in our health systems,” he said. 

“CPHIA 2022 is a great opportunity to come together as leaders in the public health sector and discuss building more resilient systems that will allow our countries to better respond to emerging health threats while continuing to address long-standing infectious and non-communicable diseases,” he said.

The CPHIA 2022 will feature nine plenary sessions, 14 parallel sessions, nine abstract-driven sessions, a high-level ministerial session and opening and closing ceremonies. 

There will also be more than 50 official, in-person side events in Kigali beginning December 12, plus an additional 10 side events held virtually.

Meaning the CPHIA 2022 at the Kigali Convention Centre in Kigali, Rwanda kicks off later today with African heads of state, ministers of health, and leading researchers and scientists scheduled to give remarks during three days of official sessions. 

The conference, scheduled for December 13 to 15, 2022, is now in its second edition and aims to build on conversations started at CPHIA 2021, helping to catalyse accelerating progress against the continent’s most significant health challenges and building more resilient health systems.

The event, hosted by the CDC Africa, in partnership with the government of Rwanda, will include remarks from several distinguished speakers, including the President of the Republic of Senegal and chairperson of the African Union Macky Sall; Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, Rt. Hon. Édouard Ngirente; President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa and President of the Republic of Zambia, Haikande Hichilema. 

Racheal Abujah
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