The West African Health Organization on Wednesday, November 23, 2017 began a two-day meeting for Health Communication specialists in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The meeting, which is the third of its kind brings, together 50 health communication specialists from WAHO member countries.
The meeting is part of effort by the regional body to secure an improved visibility of its activities in member countries.
The first gathering, which was held in 2015, was meant to strengthen Communication officers' knowledge on WAHO and the second saw the establishment of a Network of Communication Specialists.
The Director of Communication at Liberia's Health Ministry Sorbor George, who is part of the gathering, said the ongoing meeting is not only sharing information about the life and activities of WAHO, but also discussing challenges in implementing recommendations at WAHO and country levels.
The gathering will also review the scope of implementation and innovative activities to give more impetus to the network.
Addressing the participants at the start of the two day meeting, WAHO's Director General, thanked the participants for attending the meeting and promised his organization's support to implementing the activities of the network in improving the visibility of WAHO activities.
Presenting the status of Health on the region, Dr. Xaviar Crespin said malaria remains a major public health issue as 90 percent of deaths in the region were a result of malaria, despite the availability of mosquito net.
He also indicated that tobaccolusis prevalence was high, as more than 1 million people in the region were suffering the disease, while new born and child health was also a challenge on the continent due to limited access and unqualified health personnel conducting delivery.
The WAHO boss said though some countries including Liberia were making effort in the region, more need to be done to address these health problems by increasing access to health services.
On the Abuja Declaration reached in 2001 by Heads of States and Governments for 15 percent of their national budget to be contributed to health, Dr. Crespin said, not many member countries were cooperating.
He commended Liberia for being ahead of other countries to reach the declaration by contributing 15 percent of its national budget to Health.
He wants other countries in the region to follow suit as no country can provide quality healthcare without resources.