Here is our discussion topic for August and September 2017.
I am writing from the 67th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa opened on 28th August 2017 at Elephant Hills Resort in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; opened by President Robert Mugabe. Key participants included Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, Dr Asamoah Baah Deputy WHO DG, Dr A. Nascimento do Rosario, President of the 66th Regional Committee from Cape Verde and David Parirenyatwa, Minister of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe, the African Union Commissioner for Social Services and Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, as well as delegations from the Member States of the WHO African Region and partners.
It is an uplifting experience to see all these leaders united here including the AU Commission. They all placed health of the people at the center not just in words but I feel that these leaders are sincere in what they are saying to us. Do we care? How do we show that we care? These are the questions that are being asked here. For example President Mugabe stated “Let us therefore push health to take its deserved prominence on our agendas in our sub-regional groups, at the African Union level and indeed on the global forum,".
President Mugabe also noted that Africa is disproportionately represented on the global disease burden for communicable and non-communicable diseases. "We must ask ourselves why this is so, and more importantly, what can we do to arrest and reverse these trends," and called for building of formal health care systems to respond. Indeed Zimbabwe has taken practical steps to finance health from domestic resources. It was the first country to have an HIV levy and has followed this up with a health tax on phone calls. These are bold actions indeed. Can we hear of other such examples?