Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has called for renewed commitment by African governments
and national parliaments to increase domestic financing of the health sector on the continent.

He made the call in his opening address to the first virtual International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2021)
on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the African Union (AU) and the Africa Centre for Disease Control and
Prevention (Africa CDC) organised the virtual conference, 
with over 10,000 participants from 140 countries around the world participating.

The three-day conference will feature presentations from African Heads of State and Government, dignitaries and leading health experts to
discuss how to accelerate progress against COVID-19 and chart a new path for public health on the continent.

The Rwandan president, who noted that “the continent cannot continue to rely on external funding for something so important
to its future”, stressed that increased i
nvestment and renewed commitment by African governments would increase domestic financing to the sector.

Kagame said “over-reliance on external funding is not sustainable”.

He explained that the continent must continue to build the capacity of its public health bodies, noting that the Africa CDC had provided clear leadership in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic and helped many African countries to access tests, equipment and vaccines.

He disclosed that the African Medicines Agency (AMATA) was launched recently, “which means that the continent should aim to build its  own production line and manufacture its own medicines, including vaccines.

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“We cannot depend on others forever.”

In an address of welcome, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said that the important role of the civil society and communities in achieving health security cannot be over-emphasised.

Mahamat, therefore, stressed the need for strong collaboration in education and research on the continent.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa (WHOA-FRO), Dr Matshidiso Moeti, noted that the gathering could not be more timely, as she
AfricaCDC for the action-orientated response during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She emphasised continued commitment of WHOA-FRO toward tacking health emergencies in Africa.

She added that Africa needed to validate its place in influencing decisions and actions in the global multilateral space, saying that the
resilience of communities and the critical roles they played in the control and elimination of diseases had been amply demonstrated.

According to Dr John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa CDC, Africa must take its destiny in its hands as the continent continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NAN reports that the CPHIA 2021 will feature seven scientific plenaries and eight parallel sessions, and more than 40 side events to
focus on the main pillars of the African Union’s New Public Health Order to meet the aspirations of Agenda 2063. (NAN)