[Abuja, Nigeria – 11 December 2023] – Health stakeholders including health practitioners, government ministries, specialized agencies such as the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO), National Centre for Disease Control (NCDN), development partners, and civil society actors, are poised to gather in Abuja, Nigeria, for a groundbreaking dialogue aimed at devising strategies to address critical challenges impacting public health systems and emergency
preparedness in West Africa.
The two-day event is titled “Regional Multistakeholder Consultative Forum: Strengthening Public Health Systems, Emergency Preparedness and Enhancing Vaccine Access and Justice in West Africa.”
Convened by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI-Node) in partnership with the Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAID), and the Nigerian UHC Forum, this regional dialogue coincides with the launch of a research report commissioned by WACSI to analyse the state of public health systems and emergency preparedness in post COVID-19 West Africa.
This regional dialogue scheduled for 12-13 December marks a collective commitment to tackle pressing challenges within the public health sector including governance, disenabling regulatory environment, legislative lapses, inadequate financing among others.
Commissioned by WACSI with the support of Open Society Foundations (OSF) Africa, the study extensively examines the status of public health systems across 10 West African countries, shedding light on the region’s enduring struggles with historic and emerging health crises compounded by recent pandemics.
Coinciding with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Day themed “Health for All: Time for Action,” the forum will emphasize the imperative of reinforcing public health systems. It will facilitate collective reflection on progress achieved in infrastructure development, policy reinforcement, adequate financing, capacity building, and the welfare of health workers.
Furthermore, it will serve as a strategic platform to spotlight the multifaceted roles of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as advocates, accountability partners, and catalysts for change. It will explore their diverse engagements in institutional preparedness, process reform, health financing, research, community engagement, and support for vulnerable populations.
The agenda encompasses comprehensive discussions, interactive panels, and the presentation of research findings, meticulously curated to evaluate the adequacy of investments made to prepare for future pandemics. It also aims to offer practical recommendations for CSOs, policymakers, and development partners.
In our relentless collaborative efforts, this important gathering envisions contributing to the effort to achieve sustainable development goal (SDG 3), Universal Health Coverage, and creation of a region that is well prepared for public health emergencies, and champions vaccine equity, inclusivity, and prosperity for all, with a robust health sector as its foundation.