GHANA—African legislators have agreed to support actions to strengthen health systems, allowing countries to effectively prevent, prepare for, and respond to public health threats.

This announcement came after the continent’s first-ever parliamentary meeting on health security.

The November 8–10, 2023, meeting in Accra, Ghana, was jointly convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

 Hon. Alban Kingsford Suman Bagbin, Speaker of the Ghanaian Parliament, Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Ghana’s Minister of Health, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, and Mr. Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary-General, were also present at the conference.

The meeting aimed to raise parliamentary awareness of the ongoing negotiations for the first-ever global Pandemic Accord to strengthen pandemic prevention as well as amendments to the International Health Regulations in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislators expressed support for a common African position on the ongoing negotiations of the key global instruments governing health security.

The meeting also discussed the crucial role of parliamentarians in supporting measures for resilient health systems that provide adequate and quality services while ensuring an effective national response to health emergencies.

Hon. Alban Bagbin, for his part, emphasized the importance of parliamentarians in law-making, budgeting, and oversight to foster multi-sectoral action across government and engage in international partnerships.

He also emphasized the parliament’s critical role in advancing not only global health security but also universal health coverage and achieving health under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Parliamentarians, according to Hon. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, play a role in promoting health and health equity by bridging disparities in access to health care within the populations they serve.

He also mentioned that the legislator has a role in legislation, budget allocation, oversight, and ratification of international agreements, providing an impetus to influence and prioritize health security.

According to him, the conference’s political declarations and outcomes will complement two global processes—the Inter-governmental Negotiation Body to Establish the Pandemic Accord and the Working Group on Amendments to the Legally Binding International Health Regulations—on a common agenda to address the gaps seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, parliaments and parliamentarians play a critical role in ensuring that political declarations on universal health coverage and pandemic preparedness and response are translated into action through various responsibilities ranging from law-making and oversight to budgetary allocation and citizen representation.

Mr. Chungong concluded that improved preparedness necessitates legislation and investment in sectors other than health; strong and resilient health systems; national coordination mechanisms; and regional and global information sharing and cooperation.

The Parliamentary High-level Conference aims to strengthen multisectoral coordination for health emergency preparedness by bringing together legislators from across the continent, contributing to the vision of a stronger global health architecture.

The conference also follows the Regional Committee’s approval of the WHO African Regional Health Security and Emergencies Strategy 2023-2030 in Lomé, Togo.

The conference reaffirmed the significance of an effective legislative framework in strengthening countries’ preparedness capacities.


For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook