The Minister for Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has said that health emergencies exert a significant impact on human health, livelihoods, national economies and development.
He said the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weak global preparedness towards public health threats and the inequity in the global economy in terms of pandemic commodities, including vaccines and simple PPEs.
He said this at the three-day WHO, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on an African Parliamentary High-Level Conference to strengthen health security preparedness on Thursday in Accra.
According to him, it is the responsibility of countries to ensure core public health capacities are in place to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks and health emergencies and to set the foundation for a resilient health system to enable the attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
He mentioned that parliamentarians have a role in promoting health and health equity and must strive to bridge inequities in access to health care within the populations they serve.
He urged parliamentarians to continue to strengthen mechanisms for partnerships and multisectoral collaborations, increase advocacy to invest in health systems for health security and explore ways of making use of innovative approaches and new technologies for data collection, analysis and timely information sharing.
On his part, Mr. Joseph Osei-Owusu, Deputy Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament Mr Alban Bagbin, expressed delight in the measures put in place to strengthen healthcare security.
He added that the role of parliamentarians is more important in strengthening and steering health security. However, they must ensure that health systems are sustainable and constantly focused.
“Addressing these challenges will not just require immediate action but also long-term values and investments in health systems and infrastructure”, he stated.
The Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, entreated all countries, especially Africa, to participate fully in the ongoing amendments to International Health Sector regulations.
He added that the world now has the chance to cope with pandemics permanently thanks to the new accord. “The new pandemic accord that WHO members are currently negotiating, along with amendments to International Health Sector Regulations, will both provide the vital legal framework for enhanced preparedness.”
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO, African Regional Director, noted that with a common position, the world can reinvigorate primary healthcare as a pathway for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response to universal health coverage.
The conference aims to provide a forum for parliamentarians from African countries to exchange ideas, build political support, strengthen capacities and foster coordination in driving sustainable action for global health security. Additionally, the meeting will enhance the role of Parliamentarians in strengthening health security and building health system resilience for the future of their countries.
Priscilla Osei-Wusu Nimako, ISD