Home » SADC Health Ministers’ Meeting in Angola: Focus on Health for All
Angola Featured Global News Health News

SADC Health Ministers’ Meeting in Angola: Focus on Health for All

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Health and Ministers responsible for HIV/AIDS met in Luanda, Angola, on 28 November highlighting health sector progress in the region, sharing experiences, and developing common solutions to the challenges.

The vibrant meeting, which saw the approval of a series of instruments to promote access to quality health for the populations, opened with a reminder from Dr Silvia Lutucuta, Angola’s Minister of Health and Chair of the SADC Health Committee, of countries’ shared mission to eliminate malaria, end tuberculosis and HIV as public health problems, as well as to strengthen interventions for prevention, preparedness and response to public health emergencies. 

“The SADC region, rich in culture and diversity, has long been burdened by the scourge of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis which, although preventable and treatable, continue to take many lives and drain the life out of our communities. We need to end these scourges,” Dr Lutucuta said, stressing that while this was a health sector objective, it was also an imperative for the well-being and prosperity of African countries.

The instruments for improved health in the SADC region that were discussed included the Capacity for Preparedness for post COVID-19 Public Health Emergencies in the SADC Region; Ending the Tuberculosis Epidemic in the Southern African Region; and Malaria Control and Elimination. Also approved were reports on Regulatory Harmonisation of Medicines in the SADC; the Implementation of the SADC Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy and Scorecard; the Operationalisation of SADC Pooled Procurement Services; as well as the SADC Nutrition Status. 

In her remarks, delivered on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Representative in Botswana Dr Josephine Namboze congratulated the host country Angola for a successful meeting. She also lauded the SADC Region’s efforts towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), particularly the improvement of its health care index to 55 (out of 100) in 2019, compared to values of less than 44 for other regional economic communities. 

Acknowledging what she called significant progress and encouraging SADC Member States to continue on this journey, Dr Namboze cautioned that there was however still a long road ahead to ensure universal access to quality essential health services for all. “This is therefore the time to collectively build the resilience of our communities and the individuals who make them up, if we are to move towards a healthier population in the SADC Region,” she said. 

The meeting in Angola, which has assumed the Presidency of the Health Commission for the 2023-2024 period, was marked by recognition of the region’s achievements in terms of combating HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as the challenges that persist in terms of malnutrition, gender inequalities, water and sanitation, drought and climate change,  and poverty, among others, which impact the health of the region´s populations. 

Confirming WHO’s continued unequivocal commitment to working with partners to support SADC countries to deliver interventions to promote health and reduce the risk of diseases, Dr Namboze said the response to challenges arising from social, environmental, economic and health security determinants would require a joint effort from governments and society as a whole.

“There is also an imperative for countries to move from a disease-centered health system approach to a people-centered health system that provides services to all age groups, and throughout the care cycle – from prevention to palliation,” she added.

Source : WHO