WACSI Committed To Addressing Health Challenges In West Africa –

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Omolara Balogun making her speech.

ABUJA, Nigeria – Mediaage NG News – The Head, Policy Influencing & Advocacy, West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI-Node), Nigeria, Omolara Balogun on Tuesday expressed commitment of the institute to address health challenges in the West African region.

She revealed this at the Regional Stakeholders Forum on Health Systems Post COVID 19 in Abuja. The essence of the forum was to launch the report on the “Preparedness of Public Health Systems to Respond to Future Health Emergencies Using COVID 19 Responses as Case Study”.

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Omolara said the study projects the state and preparedness of public health system in ten West African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Senegal Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin and Cape Verde.

She said COVID 19, which really affected the region, had some lessons learnt, as its impact was felt in almost every sector of a nation’s economy.

“35 percent of NGOs in Africa had to shut down, while others experienced salary cut. So, you cannot say you were not affected. The health sector was badly hit”, she said.

Executive Director, Centre For Accountability, and Inclusive Development (CAAID), Niheriy, Aanu Rotimi said the conversation aims to promote the production of produce made in Africa, as much attention were paid on the importation of vaccines to Africa during the pandemic.

She alluded to the importance for more preparedness against probable future pandemic at all government levels regionally. She called on Civil Society Organisations to step out of their boundaries and support government to put the issue of health security to regional blocs like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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“We need to work together in these dire times for the health safety of the continent. Nobody knows how severe the next pandemic might be, we need to be proactive, she said.

“It was difficult sending vaccines to Africa, while some lay waste in the western world”, Rotimi added.

Dr. Ibrahim, representing the Open Society Foundations (OSF), Africa, emphasized on the inability of governments to implement the lessons brought by the COVID 19 pandemic to help improve the future.

He described the report as important, as it exposes the gaps and weaknesses of public health system in Africa.

“That should inform a greater commitment to improve our health system. That’s the challenge this research report seek to address”, he said.

How much have the information on COVID 19 been utilised? We should be proactive than reactionary. We should engage the public and private leadership of health systems in our countries. The lessons of COVID must be taken and implement legislation made to counter the threats of future pandemics “, he added.

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