WHO: SIDS' health ministers meet in Seychelles to discuss common challenges 

Health |Author: Rita Joubert-Lawen Edited by: Betymie Bonnelame | March 25, 2024, Monday @ 17:20| 3384 views

The conference is also a chance for the SIDS to examine ways to better serve their people in their respective domains.

Ministers of health from small island developing states (SIDS) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the African region are meeting in Seychelles to discuss their progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), preparedness for the next pandemic, and climate and health.

The conference is also a chance for the SIDS to examine ways to better serve their people in their respective domains.

Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan opened the event, saying, "The vagaries of climate change and health, the frantic efforts to achieve universal health coverage, the imperatives of pandemic preparedness and response, the substance abuse vortex, the obstinate surge of the obesity pandemic and its and its consequences on our populations and health systems and a whole range of other critical health challenges require us to speak as one, more than ever before."

Ramkalawan said that the delegates cannot leave this meeting without addressing the future orientations of this vibrant movement to improve the health and well-being among the SIDS population of Africa.

He added that an evaluation of the possibilities of setting up a permanent health sector secretariat for the SIDS should be considered.

Organised by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the World Health Organidation Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), the meeting is taking  place from March 25-27.

In her address to those attending the conference, the outgoing SIDS chairperson, Filomena Gonçalves from Cape Verde, said that the meeting "is a testimony to our unity and determination to overcome the common challenges we face, including sustainable development and the climate emergency that threatens our survival."

Among the challenges she listed that SIDS are facing are limited resources, susceptibility to natural disasters and vulnerability to external shocks.

As part of the efforts to work together for the betterment of the respective people, Gonçalves explained that they adopted joint strategies "to overcome these challenges, including the 2019 initiative for joint procurement of medicines and vaccines, improving access, quality and reducing costs."

Seychelles' health minister, Peggy Vidot, told reporters, "As a small island state, the amount of medications that we need tend to be smaller than the bigger countries, which means that suppliers are sometimes reluctant to send us the small quantities we require."

Vidot added that the idea of SIDS pooling resources to purchase the medications "makes it easier, as we then share it among ourselves, it is also better as the more we buy together, the more the prices go down."

Tags: World Health Organisation, Sustainable Development Goals


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