COORDINATING AFRICAN HEALTH LEADERSHIP
Here is our topic for this month.
I participated at the 5th Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH) convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, from 3rd to 5th April 2023. This is the top global HRH event that takes place every two to three years; hosted by different countries around the world. At this Geneva meeting, the African Regional Office of WHO (WHO Afro) presented a draft of the African Health Workforce Investment Charter that is being developed by that office. The following day, The African Centers for Disease Control (Africa CDC) presented another draft of the African Health Workforce Strategy being developed by the Africa CDC. Upon making inquiries, it became evident that these two African Health institutions' efforts to develop Health Workforce plans for Africa are in parallel and not coordinated. This is the reason I am moved to write about the urgent need for coordination and harmony between the WHO Afro and the Africa CDC. There are likely to be other areas of work where parallel, uncoordinated, and conflicted pieces of work in Africa are being undertaken by these two institutions that will result in duplication of efforts, undesirable competition, and create more problems than solutions to Africa’s health agenda.
According to the websites of the two organizations, “Africa CDC is a continental autonomous health agency of the African Union established to support public health initiatives of Member States and strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats. Africa CDC supports African Union Member States in providing coordinated and integrated solutions to the inadequacies in their public health infrastructure, human resource capacity, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, and preparedness and response to health emergencies and disasters. It was established in January 2016 by the 26th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government and officially launched in January 2017. The institution serves as a platform for Member States to share and exchange knowledge and lessons from public health interventions”.