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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Africa CDC renews commitment to advancing women’s health

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) will forge partnerships with governments, industry and multilateral lenders to promote maternal health on the continent, a senior official said on Wednesday, February 16, 2022.

Dr. John Nkengasong
Africa CDC Director, Dr. John Nkengasong

Benjamin Djoudalbaye, the head of Policy, Health Diplomacy and Communication at Africa CDC, said targeted investments were required to tackle the high burden of diseases affecting women of reproductive age.

“African women have borne the burden of diseases and deaths, hence the need to place them at the heart of the new health agenda for the continent,” Djoudalbaye said at a virtual briefing organised by Nairobi-based Africa Health Business.

He said the upcoming seventh edition of Africa Health Business Symposium, to be held in a hybrid format in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, on Feb. 24 would offer a platform on sharing best practices that could be adopted to reduce maternal deaths on the continent.

According to Djoudalbaye, policy reforms, domestic financing and retraining of the health workforce were a prerequisite to revitalising action on the rising burden of diseases affecting African women, including breast and cervical cancers.

He stressed that empowering women and girls through education, skills and employment was key to improving their health besides placing them on the frontline of the continent’s transformation.

Djoudalbaye called for the integration of maternal health in Africa’s universal health coverage agenda.

He added that countries that had invested adequately in vaccines and therapeutics to manage diseases affecting women had reported improved socioeconomic outcomes.

Amit Thakker, the executive chairman of Africa Health Business, said the continent should prioritise regulatory and policy incentives in order to spur investments in programmes that advanced women’s health.

Thakker said revamping public health facilities through adequate staffing, installation of diagnostic equipment and family planning commodities was key to boosting the health of African women and girls.

He said the upcoming Africa Health Business Symposium, under the theme of “Africa Women’s Health 2022: The Role of the Private Sector in Advancing Women’s Health in Africa,” would endorse a new roadmap on financing maternal health agenda on the continent.

Daniella Munene, the head of Operations at Africa Health Business, said that partnerships, innovative financing, research and awareness creation were key to reducing maternal deaths in Africa.

Munene cited enhanced access to contraceptives, early screening for breast and cervical cancers as well as clean water and sanitation as measures capable of drastically improving the health of women on the continent.

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