Africa’s vulnerable communities need urgent climate -Amref – Capital Radio Malawi
17 July, 2024

Africa’s vulnerable communities need urgent climate -Amref

Gitahi: We need to localise health strategies

Governments and stakeholder organisations have been asked to prioritise health of poverty-stricken communities in Africa who are grappling with effects of climate change.

Speaking during a virtual press briefing ahead of the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA 77) scheduled for 27th May to 1st June, 2024, Amref Health Africa’s Group Chief Executive Officer Dr Githinji Gitahi said floods and drought have affected communities in Africa including Malawi.

Gitahi said there is need to empower affected communities to be at the centre of any health interventions by countries and organisations to maintain a healthy population.

“We need to localise health strategies when dealing with issues like reducing maternal and neonatal diseases, malaria, HIV and cholera,” he said.

He further said affected youths fail to access sexual reproductive health (SRH) services within their reach.

“The world must start addressing the Africa health agenda because people in Africa are the most vulnerable, especially poor countries as only 46 percent of the people have access to health services as defined by the Universal Health coverage.

“During discussions at WHA and other global health summits and including the G20 summit, there is need to address this,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gitahi said, Amref Health Africa is supporting Malawi with financial aid to purchase medical and health supplies for communities among other interventions.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti noted that there are improvements in health service access in some countries.

She said there is need to train health care workers at different levels and ensure health supplies are delivered to communities to guarantee health care access for all.

 “The World Health Assembly will discuss progress and challenges towards the UHA [Universal Health Access] coverage. 

“There is more to do; but I am encouraged that there is progress in Africa. Some countries have implemented a health insurance so that households do not have to pay direct out of pocket,” she said.

Recently, Minister of Health Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda said Malawi Government is committed to provide a conducive environment for stakeholders to ensure Malawi addresses challenges affecting efficient health service delivery.

She hailed Amref Health Africa and other development partners for collaborating with Ministry of Health in addressing key challenges in the four priorities of service delivery, namely, human resource for health, health financing, and social determinants of health.

“The organisation is supporting us in infrastructural development. They are also helping us improve our human resource through their scholarships to 15 girls. This initiative will contribute to increasing the number of nurses and midwives in Malawi.

“This is a vital step towards reducing the health worker-patient ratio in line with the WHO standards,” Kandodo said.

Key moments and outcomes expected during the Health Assembly include the approval of WHO’s 2025–2028 strategy to address health-related implications of climate change, ageing, migration, and advances in science and technology.

The Health Assembly will feature high-level participation from political leaders and ambassadors, and representatives from civil society and non-State actors, underscoring the global commitment to advancing the public health agenda.

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