The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has charged member states to establish stronger and resilient health systems that prioritise the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups in the region.
The commissioner, Private Sector Promotion, ECOWAS, Hon. Mamadou Traore, made the call on Monday, in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja.
“In the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been on the front burner, directly or indirectly. This is evident in our meeting schedules, ways of working and engagements, as well as the impact on our already fragile and weak health systems,” Traore said.
He said that in the wake of the pandemic, ECOWAS had included health as a priority in Vision 2030, and would continue working deliberately with other sectors, led by West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), to drive a regional health agenda.
“As I reflect on the challenges faced by the region–issues of conflict, coup d’etat as examples, I cannot help but emphasise on the need for stronger and resilient health systems which prioritise the poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups.
“The urgency required to address sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, the shortfall in human resources for health, the urgent need to strengthen capacities of member states to prepare and respond to public health emergencies, and the drive to increase domestic resources for health, all come to the fore.
“All these present the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Health Ministers with a full and pertinent agenda, as well as a unique platform to deliberate and make decisions that will ultimately benefit our people,” he explained.
Traore, however, said that the outcome from the just concluded 23rd Ordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers (AHM), in Accra, Ghana, would contribute extensively towards strengthening regional integration.
He expressed confidence that it would also re-emphasise the solidarity, unity of purpose and ambition, even as the region jointly worked towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3.
NAN reports that the Sustainable Development Goal 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and promotion of well-being for all people and at all ages. (NAN)