The Minister of Health, Sylvia Masebo, reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to prioritizing primary healthcare through decentralization during her participation in the 73rd session of the World Health Organization Regional Committee for Africa, currently taking place in Gaborone, Botswana.
Hon. Masebo emphasized the importance of bringing healthcare services closer to all communities, underscoring Zambia’s dedication to improving healthcare accessibility for its citizens. In addition to focusing on primary healthcare, Hon. Masebo also highlighted the potential for collaboration between Zambia and Botswana in the fields of research and development, as well as public health preparedness for pandemics. This cooperative approach aims to strengthen the healthcare systems of both nations.
The official opening of the regional meeting featured President of Botswana, Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi, who drew lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed the need for a robust multilateral governance mechanism to ensure equitable access to vaccines, medicines, diagnostics, and other medical products and tools. President Masisi, on behalf of African Union Heads of State and Government, expressed the commitment to prioritize diversification of local and regional pharmaceutical production.
In his address, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), encouraged African countries to consider several critical factors in developing their health systems. These include Primary Health Care, Climate Change, Reproductive Health, and Water and Sanitation. Dr. Ghebreyesus’ remarks underscored the importance of a holistic approach to healthcare that considers both medical and environmental factors.
Furthermore, in a significant announcement, the Republic of Botswana and the World Health Organization designated the Botswana National HIV Reference Laboratory as a WHO Collaborating Centre of Excellence. This recognition reflects the laboratory’s outstanding work in the field of HIV diagnosis and opens doors for deeper collaboration between the laboratory and WHO to advance the health and well-being of people living with HIV.
Hon. Sylvia Masebo will continue her participation in various meetings during the event, covering topics such as Malaria Financing, Universal Health Care, Non-Communicable Diseases, Diagnostics, and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).