African conference on health risk reduction concludes in Marrakech

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The first African Conference on Health Risk Reduction has adopted the Marrakech Declaration which will serve as a benchmark for the future of health throughout the African continent.

Speakers at the conference held from November 16 to 18, 2022 in Marrakech highlighted the importance of this event in strengthening African sovereignty in terms of health.

“Hand in hand, we are opening a new page in the history of tomorrow’s health in Africa”, said Imane Kendili, president of the Moroccan Association of Addictive Medicine and Associated Pathologies (MAPA). For her, this event is the realization of a dream which has been nurtured for years.

Facing the Covid-19 pandemic, the African continent has shown a certain resilience, without however being able to explain it… at least scientifically.

Far from trying to understand the levers of an “enigmatic” success, as Saaid Amzazi, former Minister of National Education, pointed out, the objective of the conference was to create synergy between the actors of the different African countries. to act as a whole in the face of health crises.

“To create this harmony and achieve an optimal level of collaboration between all African countries, political decision-makers, economists, industrialists and scientific experts must initiate reflection, within the framework of South-South cooperation, on African sovereignty in terms of health,” said Imane Kendili, the MAPA president.

Speaking on the same subject, Khalid Aït Taleb, Minister of Health and Social Protection, indicated that the sovereignty of African States are indivisible from those of the continent as a whole. Thus, the future of the continent is the exclusive responsibility of Africans.

“The establishment of a new management of health risks and their impact on ecosystems, an overhaul of approaches and priorities, and the promotion of common values are essential, in a pan-African perspective for coping with the multiplicity of determinants of health, the heterogeneity of threats to global health security and the porosity of national and regional borders,” said Aït Taleb.

It is important, according to the words of Khalid Aït Taleb, to better “manage health risks”, “control the determinants of health” and “put in place resilient health systems”.

He added that to achieve this, it is necessary to have “a common mobilization for the Africa of tomorrow, an inclusive leadership that makes the best possible use of the skills, expertise and possibilities offered, ambitious and clear cooperation schemes, a digital and technological transition in favor of health, as well as the establishment of an autonomous continental fund for health security”.

Zimbabwean Tendal Mhizha, secretary general of this conference, noted the urgent need for a catalyst for change to show what  is needed for health in Africa while highlighting the importance of the themes dealt with during these three days of conclave.

Malawi at the conference was represented by Deputy Minister of Health Enock Phale and Deputy Director of Non-Communicable Diseases Dr. Jones Masiye.

On the second day, Phale said the conference is an eye opener for Malawi as it has come at a time when the country is recovering from Covid-19 pandemic.

“It will also help us to learn on how to prepare ourselves in case we encounter a pandemic which caused havoc to every part of the nation. As a nation, we also need to be part of the solutions to the problems that the global village is facing and one of them being reducing health harm which if not handled properly, it has what it takes to affect families and the nation at large so we are very grateful to be part of this first ever Africa Health Harm Reduction Conference.”

“Post Covid-19 era hasn’t been easy for the nation and citizens and we really need to be in the forefront advising citizens to refrain from engaging themselves into activities that can bring harm to themselves, their families and the nation so when we go back to Malawi, we will strive to implement what we have learnt here so as to move together in one direction with the rest of countries who have been part of this conference,” he said.

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