Report: WHO 72nd Regional Committee for Africa


Preamble –

The meeting was held at the prestigious CENTRE INTERNATIONAL DES CONFERENCES DE LOME 22-26 August 2022.

However, on Sunday 21 August 2022, WALK THE TALK event was held and all participants were encouraged to join and T-shirts were given to participants.

The WHO DG TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS who incidentally started his second tenure in office a week earlier on the 16th of August 2022 was in attendance.

The WHO AFRO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moetti was present too and lead the process.

Most Ministers of Health in Africa, stakeholders and WHO partners from Europe, Asia, America etc were in attendance.

The president of the Togo Republic Faure Gnassingbe declared the meeting open. The president got an award for eradicating four neglected Chronic NCDs in the Togo Republic. Togo, therefore, became the first country to achieve this feat. He said among other things that his country was able to achieve this feat through the recruitment of over 7,000 healthcare workers within 10 years and by expanding healthcare facilities. He summarized by saying that ‘he made the impossible possible through imagination and determination.

The meeting agenda was divided into 4 main pillars with many subtitles under each pillar.

There were presentations considered very important and necessary which were not on the agenda but were taken during lunch time; those who were interested participated in such meetings. There were other pieces of training done at night which were sponsored by some ministers.

Pillar 1. One billion more people benefitting from universal health coverage:

- A regional strategy to address severe, chronic noncommunicable diseases [NCDs] at the intermediate level of national health systems was adopted.
- Framework to strengthen the implementation of the GLOBAL Mental Health action plan [20132030] was adopted.
- Financial risk protection towards universal health coverage in the WHO Africa region was adopted.
- Framework for the control, elimination and eradication of tropical and vector-borne diseases in the African region was adopted.

Pillar 2. One billion more people better protected from health emergencies:

- Regional strategy for health security and emergencies 2022-2030 was adopted.

Pillar 3. One billion more people enjoying better health and wellbeing:

- Updated regional strategy for the management of environmental determinants of human health in the Africa region 2022-2032 was adopted.

Pillar 4. More effective and efficient WHO providing better support to countries.

- Progress report on the African health observatory was presented and adopted.
There were many side events held during lunchtime and notable among them were
- Launch of the Regional Campaign Against Sickle Cell Disease on Tues 23rd AUG 2022 and the panellists were the Ministers of Health of Cameroon, Ghana, Uganda, SickleInAfrica representative and US Department of Human and Health Services /OGA. The Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moetti gave the opening and closing remarks and it was adopted to be supported strongly by the Region.
- The session on Artificial Intelligence was hosted by the Minister of economic transformation of Togo on Thursday 25th August 2022 and it was well received by the Region.

The meeting presented a rare opportunity for me to make contacts and network closely given WONCA’s membership extension to French, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries.

We currently have only English-speaking Member Organizations in Africa region.

I made contacts with Drs from DRC, Benin Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Gambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, etc.

Dr Dan Abubakar
President, WONCA Africa region.