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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Call for unity to deal with health pandemics

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

THE 76th session of the World Health Assembly ended in Geneva, Switzerland this Tuesday with member states calling for more collaboration in mitigating health emergencies and pandemics.

The 10-day conference held from the 21st to the 30th of this month provided an opportunity for delegates to take stock of strides made in their respective countries and share ideas on how to attain sustainable development goal number three, which aspires for health and well-being for all.

It also included a bold commitment to end epidemics such as AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030.

“As a country, Zimbabwe has been working with the World Health Organisation very well. On our own we have managed to strengthen our own health systems despite sanctions, you find out that in terms of COVID-19 deaths, Zimbabwe has one of the lowest COVID-19 deaths in the world because we were able to use the organisation of our health system to make sure that we prevent catastrophe.

“So attending meetings like this helps us to gauge where we are relative to where we want to get and where we want to get to is a universal health coverage in Zimbabwe where we are able to assure our people of good health and extend our life expectancy and also make sure that our children grow well and they are really catered for from embryo stage to age 5, so we are really happy to have managed to attend this conference. Our agenda mainly was to come, see, understand take what we can take go and apply it at home with the aim of having vision 2030 where our people are in an upper middle-income economy, but they are healthy,” said the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Innovation Development, Professor Amon Murwira.

Among the key takeaways from the conference is a commitment by member states to strengthen the global health system.

“In terms of takeaways, there is an overwhelming commitment by all members that the global health system must be improved in order to respond to whatever pandemic or global health emergency might emerge next. It is easy to say that it’s more difficult to get there but the commitment to get there is very genuine everybody is coming with the same objective in mind. In the developing countries where we fall in, we are determined that our health systems on the continent must be strengthened we must develop our own vaccine and medication manufacturing capacity we must really fill in the huge gap that was exposed during the covid pandemic. Our systems across the continent are generally quite weak and generally, the commitment is there to work with Africa to strengthen the health system,” explained Zimbabwe’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Stuart Comberbach.

National Aids Council CEO, Dr Bernard Madzima noted, “We held quite a lot of meetings with our health partners as well as ministers and organisations from various countries. In these meetings, the countries with a high burden of HIV managed to meet and try to map innovative ways of trying to make sure that we end AIDS by 2030.”

Some of the resolutions made at the 76th session of the World Health Assembly include the adoption of the first-ever global strategy on infection prevention and control (IPC), which builds on almost two decades of efforts led by the WHO and its partners.

The plan provides member states with strategic direction to substantially reduce the ongoing risk of healthcare-associated infections including anti-microbial resistance.

The assembly also agreed on a landmark resolution to strengthen rehabilitation in health systems.

A resolution on strengthening diagnostics capacity was also passed to achieve universal health coverage.

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