WHD: WHO commends member states, partners for their enthusiasm, support

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    By Blessing Bature

    On World Health Day, usually mark on every 7 of April 2023, world health organization has began a year-long commemoration of WHO’s 75th Anniversary while commending Member States, partners, and stakeholders for their enthusiasm and support.

    Speaking, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said It has been a season rich in festivities and reflections, and looking back on public health successes that have improved the quality of life of populations during the last seven decades and summoned the energy to tackle the health challenges of the next 75 years.

    “As we close the celebrations today, the theme for World Health Day 2024, “My Health, My Right” is appropriate to recall how we increased the rights of our region’s people through health”.

    “With our Member States, we have made significant progress in ensuring better health outcomes for our people over the past decade. More mothers and children are surviving today than before. From 2000 to 2020, the life expectancy of African women increased from 54 to 67 years; the maternal mortality ratio decreased by 33% (from 788 to 531 maternal deaths per 100 000 lives), and the number of children dying before the age of 5 was reduced by 50% from 2000 to 2017”.

    According to her, “Between 2011 and 2021, the number of new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths decreased by 44% and 55%, respectively, across Africa, and the number of TB deaths decreased by 26%. In addition, several diseases are on the verge of eradication and elimination, including polio, guinea worm disease, as well as maternal and neonatal tetanus”.

    She applauded Member States’ efforts to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC). They are reforming their health policies and revamping legislative and regulatory frameworks, including National Health Insurance Schemes (NHIS) and Social Health Insurance (SHI) schemes to reduce catastrophic out-of-pocket health expenditures.

    She noted that several countries have started operationalizing an integrated Life Stages Approach, which prioritizes the health of individuals at every stage of their life and the care needed at any time.