ACHEST at the 65th East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Ministers conference in Dar es Salaam

on Saturday, 24 March 2018.

Dr. Patrick Kadama , Director Policy and Strategy together with Dr. Peter Eriki, Director Health Systems represented the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) at the 65th ECSA Health Ministers ’ Conference, held at Kilimanjaro Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dar es Salaam, from 19th – 21st March 2018.
The 3 days conference hosted by the United Republic of Tanzania, through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDEC) in collaboration with the ECSA Health Community brought together Ministers of Health, Senior Officials from Ministries of Health in the Member states, partners, Health training institutions and health Research institutions.
The conference was themed “Multi-sectoral Collaboration for Health towards Achievement of the SDGs” and covered the following sub themes: Governance and Leadership Practices in the Health sector; Mitigating the Impact of emerging and re-emerging diseases; Multi-Sectoral responses to Non-communicable Diseases and; Accountability for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health post-2015.

The Right Honorable Majaliwa Kassim Majaliwa (M.P), Prime Minister of The United Republic of Tanzania opened the conference and reiterated the commitment of Tanzania in continuing to host the ECSA Health Community in Arusha, Tanzania and to continue supporting the organization in every way.

65th Health Ministers Conference65th Health Ministers Conference

While Dr. Patrick Kadama when speaking on the topic “Building and Sustaining Leadership for Health” noted that despite knowledge, technology and more resources been put in place, progress is still slow and Africa is lagging behind. There is also evidence that Stewardship, Governance and Leadership are a neglected building block of the health systems, which calls for the role of most responsible persons.

He mentioned that ACHEST as an African based NGO has developed a Virtual Resource Centre and Searchable database that is a “One‐stop source” for access to reliable information from safe sources which also provides ministers and senior executives with a platform to connect with each other in a safe and protected space to share successes and challenges.

Among the key issues highlighted in the interactive sessions, the Ministers took note of the following:-
I. The delay in translating Research findings in the Region into Policy and implementation of the policy recommendations resulted from the research works at Regional and country level. Many research works have been implemented, but very few have been translated into policy.

II. The need to strengthen coordination of the partners in the countries who are supporting health sector, countries should develop a partner coordination framework to facilitate proper coordination and monitoring activities and contribution of partners to the health sector, this is to harmonize and understand who does what and at what cost.

III. The need to strengthen Health Insurance schemes as a means towards reducing the inequalities in health services between the rich and poor and as a means for achieving Universal Health Coverage and the need to develop a quality-monitoring framework to monitor the quality of the health services provided.

IV. The need to embrace the virtual colleges (colleges without wall) model of training medical specialists to the ECSA-HC Member states, the model has increased the pool of health specialists in some of the ECSA Countries.

V. The need to strengthen and scale up NCD screening in the Region and the experiences on introducing the HPV vaccine to the girls aged 9 to 13 in Uganda, which could benefit the other countries that are on the process of piloting the HPV vaccine.

VI. The need to strengthen capacities in public health and disease preparedness to effectively manage emergencies, outbreaks and other events of public health concern and enhance community participation in health service delivery.

At the end of the conference, the Ministers considered and passed the following resolutions:
• Governance and Leadership in the Health Sector
• Mitigating the Impact of Emerging and re-emerging Diseases
• Multi-Sectoral Responses to Non Communicable Diseases
• Accountability for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health post 2015
• Recommitment of the ECSA HMC to the ECSA College of Health Sciences

Compiled by Loice Epetiru, Communications’ Specialist at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).