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Conclusions and Recommendations of the 1st edition of Africa Health ExCon
Published in Amwal Al Ghad on 09 - 06 - 2022

The third and closing day of Africa Health ExCon took place on in Cairo on Tuesday June 7th. Under the auspices of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Africa Health ExCon witnessed extensive participation of more than 800 delegates from medical entities in Egypt and Africa. It was organised by the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement (UPA).
Under the slogan "Your Gate to Innovation and Trade", the participants unanimously acknowledged the Egyptian President's initiative to provide 30 million COVID-19 vaccines to African countries. The Egyptian initiative reflects on strengthening the robust ties between the African countries. They also lauded the exerted efforts in organising such mega event.
The closing meeting addressed the challenges facing the health sector in the African countries. Africa's health sector has not witnessed yet a full recovery from the repercussions of the pandemic and some tropical and contagious diseases. The meeting also outlined the mechanisms of strengthening cooperation between the countries of the continent to ensure the accessibility to healthcare services, drugs and vaccinations to the African people.
The meeting also witnessed the launch of "Africa Health...From Procurement to Cure" initiative, which aims at leveraging on Africa's financial resources and human capacities for producing vaccines, medical equipment and supplies by 2030. This is in addition to improving the bargaining position of the African countries in importing the needed drugs, and medical supplies to boost the strategic procurement management.
The axes of conference recommendations:
* Exerting efforts on hepatitis elimination in Africa, as an estimated 82 million people are infected with hepatitis b virus, along with 10 million people are infected with hepatitis c virus. Hence, international cooperation should instantly take place with the African Union to provide hepatitis b vaccine at birth. This is in addition to providing hepatitis b vaccination in patients with liver cirrhosis at affordable price, and drawing on the Egyptian experience at hepatitis elimination through shared expertise and trained staff, as well as nationally-manufactured diagnosis tools and effective treatments.
* Strengthening collaboration for improving the maternal and child health (MCH) system through the exchange of country-level experiences across the continent, including Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco. This is in addition to exchanging the experiences of pediatricians as well as supporting the launch of scientific research in this field, especially with regard to combating obesity and ensuring the right to education for girls.
* Delivering a set of training courses for health professions in Africa on topics related to setting and applying health policies, in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the next couple years.
– Issuing a booklet to be available in many languages by 2024 for outlining the most important educational materials that have been taught in this respect to benefit the continent's peoples.
– Calling for drafting a continental- level strategy on the applications of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the medical sector.
Africans will be delegated to set this strategy, reflecting on the uniqueness of this continent. This will directly contribute to significantly boosting the advantages brought to the African peoples from health services. The strategy will have a role in improving the efficiency of health systems in fulfilling the demands of the individuals and local communities, as well as improving the quality and efficiency of health services, and empowering patients through providing them access to their healthcare information.
– Launching a unified electronic database linking all African countries to facilitate continental cooperation between experts and companies in the health sector.
– Establishing partnerships for implementing and evaluating continental- level collaboration, with due consideration to addressing any potential conflict of interest risk.
– Agreeing on doubling the efforts exerted to localise the continent's pharmaceutical industries, vaccines, and other medical supplies, and to intensify continental cooperation starting the early stages of manufacturing process to product supplying.
– Mulling the launch of a unified system for managing health facilities in the continent during the next two years, taking into account all the requirements for complying with the highest international quality standards based on the experiences of the Egyptian unified procurement entities
– Agreeing on a package of measures to intensify cooperation between the various African health authorities, including conducting joint research based on societal needs and priorities, utilising new technologies, exchanging and reviewing data about medical issues, and exchanging medical tourism. In return, this will contribute to enriching the national experiences of the African countries.
– Lauding the announcement issued during the conference about sending Egyptian medical convoys to the remote areas in Africa intend to be present in geographically remote areas to carry out medium to major surgeries and treat new disease cases.
– Encouraging the relevant research authorities to study the proposal for the registration and setting a unified pricing system for drugs based on the mechanisms set by the African Union.
– Setting a vision to encourage effective communications between African governments, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, academic and research institutions, charitable institutions, and the private sector.
– Integrating the health aspect in all policies to develop solution for overcoming health challenges.
– Activating cooperation with regard to reforming and upgrading medical education systems, developing medical curricula and examination systems, as well as standardising evaluation methods for doctors' licences to be accredited at all the African countries, with a start phase in Egypt and Nigeria.
Bahaa El-Din Zidan, Chairman of the Unified Medical Procurement Authority (UPA), stated that the meeting participants agreed on holding similar meetings on periodical level in Egypt. They believed that the new platform will develop new cooperation ties between stakeholders and the parties concerned with health development.
The schedule of the meeting will be set during the second half of 2023. It will be entitled "Cost reduction of healthcare services in Africa: required partnerships". The UPA will start setting the schedule of the meeting by 2023, as well as monitoring the implementation of the conference recommendations, Zidan added.
Adel Adawy, Former Health Minister and the head of the Scientific Committee at Africa Health ExCon, referred to the participants' appreciation, as Egypt took the initiative to launch this mega event that was organized by the UPA.

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