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IAPO attend the 63rd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa
by IAPO at 12:01AM Thursday 26 September 2013 (News)

World Health Organization (WHO) stakeholders from across the African region gathered in Brazzaville, Congo, on 2-6 September 2013, for the 63rd WHO Regional Committee for Africa. IAPO was represented at the Committee by Regina Namata Kamoga, IAPO Governing Board Member, and Christian Locka, IAPO member representative for Action for Humane Hospitals in Cameroon.

Regina and Christian spoke with a number of country, civil society and WHO representatives, highlighting the importance of patient-centred healthcare in current prominent issues, including universal health coverage. This year’s session under the theme "Investing in health for sustainable development" included discussions on healthy ageing; enhancing the role of traditional medicine in health systems; strengthening the capacity for regulation of medical products; universal health coverage in the African region; and health in the post-2015 development agenda.

Under agenda item 16 “Panel Discussion: Towards universal health coverage in the African Region (Document AFR/RC63/PD)” Regina gave an intervention on behalf of IAPO, which called on WHO to define universal health coverage more clearly and to scale-up support for Members States to implement or expand it. In the Committee's discussions, the human resource crisis, underfunding for the health sector and little political commitment, were identified as major factors impacting universal health coverage. The need to prioritize health policies and political will were emphasized as key elements in achieving universal health coverage, and governments were called upon to move their systems towards universal coverage. IAPO's intervention highlighted that the definition of universal health coverage must include patient-centred healthcare in order for its goals to be achieved. The intervention was very well received and WHO acknowledged the need to redefine the concept.

Read IAPO's intervention on Universal Health Coverage.

Christian attended the Regional Committee as part of IAPO's programme to support a member to attend each WHO Regional Committee. Here Christian shares his experience of the event:

"The WHO Regional Committee was a wonderful experience. As a representative of IAPO's African members, I used the opportunity to meet with English and French speaking country delegations. Regina and I planned our work on a day-to-day basis, ensuring that we made effective use of our time there. My main objective was to introduce patients' issues and most importantly the upcoming Patient Solidarity Day to policy makers and other participants.

Regina and I discussed Patient Solidarity Day with representatives from the countries where IAPO has members, as well as with country representatives from Chad, the Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Mali, Gabon, Madagascar and Mauritius. IAPO recognizes that there is currently a lack of members from French speaking African countries and so I engaged in dialogue with representatives of these countries to discuss patients' organizations there. A number of other civil societies at the Committee also showed interest in Patient Solidarity Day and patient-centred healthcare.

The Committee portrayed the situation of universal health coverage in Africa. Examples from Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, and Rwanda demonstrated how progress towards universal health coverage can be achieved. 

In summary, the WHO Regional Committee was an unprecedented successful experience. I learnt from other participants and documents on countries and about how the WHO African Regional Office works. It was a great opportunity to share the work of IAPO members in Africa with their health authorities. After meeting with French speaking delegates, I hope to hear from patients’ organizations in those countries the days or months ahead. Finally, my special thanks to IAPO for this opportunity. I hope that our participation in Brazzaville will produce results and strengthen IAPO in the African region."

Read more about the 63rd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa. 

Read about Patient Solidarity Day 2013

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