Covid is a lesson – AU

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula pleaded with Namibians to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and urged those who have already been jabbed to get their booster shots.

20 December 2021 | Health

TUYEIMO HAIDULA







OSHAKATI

The African Union (AU) last week implored its member states to invest in public health in order to counter future crises, saying the Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity for the continent to do better.

AU commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat made these remarks at the inaugural International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA-2021), which was held virtually. He also said the continent should invest in vaccinations.

CPHIA was hosted by the AU and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). The sessions focused on the need to address long-standing health challenges on the continent, including vaccine inequity and weak health systems.

Speakers also reflected on the impact of Covid-19 in Africa over the past two years, and the lessons learnt.

Namibia has not been pardoned by the pandemic, with the country having lost 3 280 people to Covid-19 by Saturday.

Mahamat said the African continent has not been spared the devastating effects of the virus, which has pushed health systems to the limits.

“But we have great hopes for the future, and a historic opportunity to build a new public health order that can effectively guard against future health crises. This conference is the first step in making this a reality,” he said.

Renewed commitment

Rwandan President Paul Kagame said there is a need for renewed commitments by governments and national parliaments to increase domestic financing for health in Africa.

“We cannot continue to rely on external funding for something so important to our future,” he said.

Kagame has been a vocal advocate of the AU’s plan to consolidate the African market space, which he has said will benefit the continent vastly and enable it to negotiate better deals with other regions. He has also been a champion for domestic health financing.

“We need to invest much more in national health systems. The ability to implement critical health programmes, including regular mass vaccination campaigns, depends on the quality of national health services and the trust the public have in them,” he said.

Namibia’s situation

Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday reiterated his call that Namibians should not panic about the recently detected Omicron variant, but should instead focus on adhering to regulations and health and safety precautions to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

He also pleaded that Namibians get vaccinated against Covid-19 so the country can reach herd immunity, and encouraged those who have already done so to get their booster shots.

- [email protected]

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