By Regional Director
It is my pleasure to welcome you to this Seventieth session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa and would like to thank the Government of Togo, for the preparatory work done in anticipation of hosting this session. Were it not for COVID-19, we would have been together in Lomé, and I look forward to when we will next be able to meet in Lomé.
As the world faces one of its biggest challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to thank you and your governments for the tireless efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic response.
As we continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy to announce, later today, thanks to the collective efforts of governments, partners and WHO, the End to the fight against another such disease that had ravaged our continent for decades, wild poliovirus. . I hope this huge achievement will provide us with hope and encouragement to continue the fight against COVID-19.
This meeting is taking place during exceptional times, in a COVID-19 global and regional public health context and as we also strive to improve the health of billions by 2023, by achieving universal health coverage, protecting people from health emergencies and promoting better health and well-being for all.
I am happy and encouraged to note that, across the region, momentum is building to reach our goals of attaining universal health coverage, health security and protecting our people from the impact of health emergencies, which is a challenge in the region. The attainment of universal health coverage is the highest priority for WHO. No person should suffer financial hardship because of the cost of needed health care. I am glad to see that Good progress is being made, as seen with the end of the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC.
At the same time, we should also continue to keep a keen eye on communicable and noncommunicable diseases for which we now have abundant information, medicines and technology to handle. Social, economic and environment determinants of health also contribute to the health of the African population, and we should continue to, reduce health inequities, improve access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation that are likely to promote healthy lives.
Thanks to the collective efforts of governments, partners and civil society, we are continuing to make strides in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today a Special session on the COVID-19 response in the WHO African Region will be held and we will hear more about the effort’s countries are making in the Region to manage the pandemic.
I would like to commend the progress you have made and to thank you all very much for working with us to improve the health outcomes in the region.
To our partners, thank you for your collaboration and trust. Your support remains vital to building on the gains made and overcoming the challenges we face.
I invite you to join us today, in the rich deliberations and firm resolutions which will be reached towards better health for the people of the African Region and the world.
Thank you.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.