*One Health programme for West African nations
Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has declared open the 18th Assembly of Health Ministers holding Friday, at the ECOWAS Commission secretariat in Abuja.
In his speech, Mr Osinbajo expressed the commitment of Nigerian Government to ensuring that the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) established by WAHO in Abuja, takes off before the end of 2017.
He noted that “It is a great challenge to improve the health of our people,” charging member nations to do more in terms of funding so as to confront health emergencies.
Communication he noted also remains a major challenge in carrying out WAHO activities, urging the leadership of the organisation to leverage on technology.
The Nigerian leader however commended the leadership of WAHO for living up to its noble objectives.
Speaking, the current chairman of the AHM and Health Minister of Togo, Mustafa Mijiyawa, said the Assembly will consider and review health situation in the region and take decisions to ensure improved health.
He expressed delight that the Assembly will adopt the “One Health’ Approach towards combatting diseases and outbreak of epidemics in the region.
The Chair of the Assembly however hastened to remind his fellow Ministers that synergy is required to achieve the objectives of “One Health”.
Mr Mijiyawa, therefore, made strong appeal to Member States and partners to double support for WAHO, assuring that Togolese President is committed to the ideals of the organisation.
The Minister commended the Liaison Officers, Experts and Partners who have done “a good job” preparing the draft of resolutions and roadmap that will be adopted by the Ministers.
He also thanked the partners for their financial support in WAHO, urging them to sustain the tempo and even do more.
In his welcome address, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, stressed the need to invest more in research that could guarantee adequate and reliable data necessary for policy formulation on Health issues in West Africa.
He also enjoined member States to focus on controlling tobacco, saying concerted efforts should be geared towards controlling sale of cigarettes in the region for the overall benefit of “our people”.
Earlier, the Director General of WAHO, Dr. Xavier Crespin, said the 18th AHM will focus deliberation and take decisions on: the Use of Evidence in Health policy formulation, Task Shifting, Maternal Health, Child Health, Combatting Communicable and Non-communicable diseases as well as Hospital Reform.
He said WAHO recorded numerous achievements in 2016, which would be presented to the Assembly.
Dr Crespin assured the Ministers that WAHO would continue to do advocacy to raise funds to executive programmes and projects aimed at improving the health of West African people.
He commended the partners for supporting the activities of WAHO, expressing thanks to the World Bank, French and Japan Cooperation, USAID and others for their financial support.
At the end of the deliberation, the Assembly is expected to issue communique which WAHO DG says will be dubbed ‘Abuja Declaration’.