EQUATORIAL GUINEA – The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has announced that African Union (AU) Member States, partners and stakeholders have been urged to apply innovative solutions to address the humanitarian health challenges in Africa.

The call for coordinated investment and action seeks to address existing and newly emerging humanitarian health challenges in Africa at a time when there is growing inequalities, vulnerabilities and unstable access to healthcare in the different parts of the region.

According to the Africa CDC, the call to action was announced during a side event held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to address the current humanitarian challenges facing parts of the African region and in support of the establishment and operationalization of African Humanitarian Agency (AHA).

In Africa, more than half of all refugees are children and adolescents below the age of 18, requiring stronger emphasis on their needs and well-being including education and life-skills, livelihoods, and sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence protection and response.

The event was attended by distinguished officials from the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, the Government of the Equatorial Guinea, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA).

Other participants represented notable organizations such as the Africa CDC, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The side event was organized by Africa CDC, WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS and the Government of South Sudan in order to augment efforts set forth by African leaders to address humanitarian health challenges in Africa in a rapidly changing world.

The healthcare stakeholders have jointly urged AU Member States, partners and stakeholders to apply innovative solutions to address the humanitarian health challenges in Africa since humanitarian crises pose a major threat to health and dignity worldwide.

Africa CDC states that the Heads of AU Member State governments were advised to redouble investments commitments and to prioritize domestic resources and recurrent spending as an integral part of national and regional peace and security and a pre-requisite for attainment of the AU Agenda 2063.

The continental public health agency further stressed that AU Member States were urged to uphold the rules under International Humanitarian Law particularly during armed conflicts to ensure protection for those not involved in hostilities.

The health agency explained that populations in humanitarian settings still need proper access to health service locations, provision of a minimum package of health services, protection of healthcare personnel and provision of impartial care to most vulnerable including women and children.

In addition, AU Member States, regional and global organizations were advised to support the African Humanitarian Agency particularly through political and funding commitments towards addressing the causes of expanding fragility indexes on the continent.

AU Member States, regional and global organizations were further urged to empower Community Health systems as the first line of defense along with increased investments and strengthening of local humanitarian institutions, Africa CDC reports.

Africa CDC announced that governments were encouraged to appoint a national high-level humanitarian coordinator with authority and political accountability to lead whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, prioritizing community involvement and localization of humanitarian action.

Furthermore, African Union Member State governments have called upon to develop and adopt a designated policy guideline on HIV/AIDS intervention in humanitarian setting to ensure African Union’s vision of ending HIV/AIDS as public health emergency by the year 2030.

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