LeadNew Initiative Aims to Strengthen Health Cooperation Between Africa and the Caribbean

New Initiative Aims to Strengthen Health Cooperation Between Africa and the Caribbean

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Kigali, Bridgetown, Geneva- December 2023- The Health Development Partnership for Africa and the Caribbean (HeDPAC) has been officially launched, to enhance health cooperation between the two regions. The initiative stems from the acknowledgment that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected developing countries, particularly impacting women and children, leading to setbacks in health gains, including maternal mortality.

HeDPAC’s primary focus will be on strengthening the health workforce in both regions and sharing innovative solutions in primary health care, placing special emphasis on climate resilience, and maternal, and child health. Key strategies include promoting technology transfer for pharmaceutical manufacturing, building regulatory capacity, and enhancing universal health coverage.

Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, with over twenty-five years of experience in global health and currently serving as the Director of Global Coordination on Antimicrobial Resistance at WHO, has been appointed as the first CEO of HeDPAC.

“COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in our health systems, but we also have the opportunity to address those challenges”, said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who is a champion of the initiative. “The time to act is now”, he said.

“COVID-19 left an indelible scar on our global solidarity and the right of all people to good health”, said Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados, who is also championing HeDPAC. “It is our shared responsibility to ensure that the inequity of the global response to COVID-19 is not repeated. This is the kind of action that will allow us to help people where they need it most.”

“The establishment of HeDPAC heralds a new global public health order to realize health equity through greater political commitment and action”, said Professor Senait Fisseha, Vice President of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. “Through this collaboration, vulnerable countries and groups, including women and children, stand to benefit.”

“WHO is pleased to partner with HeDPAC in its efforts to achieve universal health coverage for the people of Africa and the Caribbean”, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “South-South cooperation can play a critical role in catalysing a shared vision for health and the exchange of best practices between nations.”

Dr Getahun said, “There is no better role in global health than to contribute to health equity for the most vulnerable.”

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