AfroPHC at the 73rd WHO AFRO Regional Committee Meeting

Strengthen PHC for Pandemic Preparedness and Response

This year AfroPHC is among 8 of 29 non-state actors accredited by WHO AFRO region to participate in the 73rd Regional Committee meeting. This is a great opportunity to advance the call to Africa to strengthen primary health care systems to accelerate achievement of universal health coverage. AfroPHC will be engaging with both member states and other civil society organizations of the policy framework “Building PHC Teams for UHC in Africa”(To be launched and accessible on this webiste soon), drawing on lessons from frontline health care workers, opportunities and regional collaboration.

Africa and the INB process

The meeting opened with a side event on the INB process with discussions centering on updates on the progress and how to future proof our health care systems for pandemic preparedness. In December 2021, at its second-ever special session, the World Health Assembly established an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. 194 nations are involved in the process but active participation by African states has been limited. It was clear that more dialogue and engagement of African member states is needed, equity being both a highly desired outcome and a principle of the process, with a unified African position. As regards the International Health Regulations(2005) Ammendement process, the WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called for strong, effective and targeted ammendments, with active engagement and common positions to deliver an updated IHR that is fit for purpose.

Countries Call to Strengthen PHC

The Regional Director WHO Afro and Sierra Leone among other members states, emphasized the crucial role that primary health care plays in creating resilient health systems for pandemic preparednes and response, calling on the WHO to support countries in operationalization of primary health care policy and buliding of their PHC systems. This underpins, reiterates and echoes the clarion call in the WHO 2008 Report: PHC now more than ever. Recognizing the renewed commitment to PHC by African nations, as not only a vehicle to reach the unreached and underreached, but also as key to strong resilient health systems: we call on Africa to empower and build an effective PHC team to strengthen PHC and accelerate UHC in Africa. We, as the African Forum for Primary Health Care (AfroPHC),commit to educating and empowering providers and their communities at the frontline to support this goal in any way we can, including building AfroPHC Chapters at country level as a forumfor PHC and UHC in Africa.