COVID-19 pandemic sheds light on structural weaknesses of health systems in Africa: AU chief

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the structural weaknesses of the health systems in Africa, chairperson of the African Union Commission (AU) said on Thursday.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the 55-member pan-African bloc, made the remarks while addressing the two-day ordinary session of the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) of the AU.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, beyond its disastrous health and socio-economic effects, has, above all, shed light on the structural weaknesses of our health systems in Africa,” Mahamat said.

The PRC is holding its two-day sessions, from Thursday, under the theme of the year, “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development.”

Mahamat told envoys of African countries to consider initiatives that would enhance the health systems in Africa.

“The attention you will have to give to the modalities of operationalization of the Africa CDC, to the partnerships in the manufacture of vaccines and to the quantitative aspect of the instruments of ratification for the establishment of the Africa Medicines Agency, will certainly facilitate the initiation of a break from the currently dominant pattern and to place Africa in a renewed approach to health issues,” he said.

The PRC meeting, which brings together envoys of African countries virtually, is expected to consider draft agenda and draft decisions of the 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and agenda of the 35th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, slated to be held from Feb. 2-3 and 5-6, respectively.