ECOWAS Health Ministers converge on Accra to strategize against future pandemics

ECOWAS Health Ministers converge in Accra to strategize against future pandemics

By Roslyn Ganyaglo and Antionette Abbah

Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu has called on fellow Health Ministers in West African to take crucial steps to improve health systems in their respective countries. This must be done through the implementation of effective prevention measures that will address challenges affecting health care delivery in the region to change the appalling health indices of the region. Speaking at the 23rd Ordinary Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS, Mr Agyemang Manu emphasized that members countries must not be complacent with the strides made with regard to Covid 19. Hence, existing protocols must fully be complied with to avoid sporadic flare-ups.

The 23rd Ordinary meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS brought together Sector Ministers from 15 countries in the sub-region. It presented an opportunity for the Ministers to review the health situation in the region and deliberate on the achievements and challenges in the implementation of health programmes and policies. To have a secure health care system in the sub-region an Accra Declaration on Universal health care was signed.

This focused on ensuring domestic funding of health programmes, access to health care especially the vulnerable, and collaboration among Health Ministers in the sub-region. Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu in an address challenged his colleague Ministers not to relent in their effort in the Covid 19 vaccination drive to prevent another wave.
“Cost-effective ways must be championed to deal with primary health care and inequalities in the system”.

Director-General of West Africa Health Organization, Prof Stanley Okolo, said the sub-region is currently dealing with 8 disease outbreaks which have been destroyed livelihoods and pushed so many into poverty. He urged the Ministers to strengthen the capacity of their laboratories as well as organize numerous training sessions on relevant topics in order to contain disease outbreaks in the region.

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said there is the need to build a reboust and resilient health system as well as design policies that will prioritize the needs of the marginalized in society. The summit received 2021 WAHO report, and discussed the potential of vaccine manufacturers in the region.

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