Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African leaders have endorsed the establishment of the African Public Health Emergency Fund (APHEF), aimed at mobilising additional resources to respond rapidly and effectively to public health emergencies of national and international concern.
The leaders endorsed the fund at the just-ended 19th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The fund was introduced to the summit by President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia, who reminded the leaders that public health emergencies remain a major concern for Africa, as they continue to shackle the continent’s development.
He noted that countries do not have the requisite human, financial and material resources to deal effectively and efficiently with public health emergencies, hence they often have to shift their attention beyond their boundaries for external assistance that sometimes arrive when much damage has already been done.
“It is in this regard that it is strongly justifiable to create a common fund that will considerably enhance preparedness for dealing with emergencies and their attendant unpleasant consequences. The resources of this common fund will aid countries to deal with epidemics and pandemics and thereby save lives and reduce poverty,” he said.
The establishment of the APHEF was proposed by Dr Luis Sambo, WHO Regional Director for Africa, and was approved by the 60th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa held in 2010 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.