The Herald (Harare)

Southern Africa: Health Experts Meet in Tanzania

Arusha — A HIGH level technical body in the East, Central and Southern Africa-Health Community is meeting here in Arusha, Tanzania, to deliberate and recommend solutions to emerging health challenges in the region.

The meeting, which started yesterday, is being attended by directors of health programmes, deans of medical schools and funding partners from ten member states of the ECSA-HC.

Speaking at the official opening, ECSA-HC director general Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae said the two-day deliberations are expected to zero in on four main themes.

These themes are; renewing commitment to health workforce best practices, innovations for improving maternal, newborn and child health, nutrition and health and diagnostics as a backbone to clinical care.

"This meeting is for the highest technical body of the ECSA-HC who then report back and advice Health Ministers on the way to move forward on health challenges in the region," Dr Kibaru-Mbae said.

She said the objective of the meeting is to share, identify and proffer recommendations to health ministers.

The meeting is running under the theme: accelerating and scaling up best practices in the ECSA region.

Speaking at the same occasion, World Health Organisation Representative for Africa Dr Olive Mungisha said despite two years left to the Millennium Development Goals deadline, Africa still faces huge challenges in issues of health.

Dr Mungisha said in most countries, Zimbabwe included, maternal mortality remains very high.

"Other countries are going backwards rather than forward, especially in areas of maternal mortality and HIV and Aids.

"We need a new way of looking at things to respond to these epidemics," Dr Mungisha said.

She emphasised on community involvement for effective interventions.

The Zimbabwe delegation led by Dr Davis Dhlakama, the principal director for policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, is also expected to learn and share experiences with fellow experts participating in the conference.

ECSA-HC is a regional inter-government health organisation that fosters and promotes regional co-operation in health among member states.

Member states of ECSA include Zimbabwe, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Seychells, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

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