AFRICA— The Health Development Partnership for Africa and the Caribbean (HeDPAC), a new project focused at enhancing Africa-Caribbean South-South health collaboration, has been officially launched.
This partnership arose from the awareness that developing countries, bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic particularly women and children and as a result, health successes suffered setbacks, most notably in maternal mortality rates.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 38% reduction in maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), equal to a 2.9% annual drop.
Despite this improvement, it remains short of the 6.4% annual rate required to fulfill the global Sustainable Development Goal of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
Further study uncovers major morbidity and cost repercussions connected with access to quality maternity healthcare, including infection fear and the containment methods in place, such as social distance and community confinement.
The pandemic has added to the already overburdened and under-resourced healthcare systems, exposing the susceptibility of high-risk population groups to addressing critical healthcare concerns.
In 2020, around 287 000 women died during and after pregnancy and childbirth as a result of significant obstacles in health systems and a lack of emergency preparedness procedures.
According to the WHO, over 95% of all maternal deaths in 2020 will occur in low and lower middle-income countries, with the majority of these deaths avoidable.
Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia are estimated to account for roughly 87% (253 000) of global maternal mortality in 2020, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for approximately 70% (202 000) and Southern Asia accounting for approximately 16% (47 000).
HeDPAC’s activities will be focused on increasing the health workforce in both regions, allowing the interchange of innovative primary health care solutions, with a special emphasis on climate resilience, and enhancing mother and child health.
HeDPAC’s key goals are to promote pharmaceutical manufacturing technology transfer, regulatory capability, and universal health care.
Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, WHO’s Director of Global Coordination on Antimicrobial Resistance, will serve as the organization’s first CEO.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, a program backer, stated that COVID-19 revealed gaps in Rwanda’s health care but also provided an opportunity to address those concerns that required immediate attention.
Another HeDPAC supporter, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, spoke on COVID-19’s long-term impact on global solidarity and the right to health.
She underlined the importance of everyone working together to avoid a repeat of the imbalance in global response, stressing that this type of action will allow aid to be provided to the most vulnerable.
Professor Senait Fisseha, Vice President of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, lauded the founding of HeDPAC for ushering in a new global public health order focused on achieving health equity through enhanced political commitment and action.
She emphasized the potential benefits for developing countries and individuals like women and children.
The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated his organization’s joy in cooperating with HeDPAC.
He stressed the need of South-South collaboration in building a common vision for health and sharing best practices among nations.
Dr. Getahun, as CEO, closed by saying that he is happy to be the CEO of global health since it allows him to contribute to health equity for the most disadvantaged people.