WHO-AfDB cooperation: Dr Moeti and Dr Adesina agree on a number of financing priorities for health in Africa

Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), 9 November 2016 – The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti and the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akimwumi Adesina, have agreed on priority health programmes for potential future cooperation between the Bank and WHO.

The meeting, which also included high-level teams from both institutions, took place at the headquarters of the AfDB in Abidjan on 9 November 2016 on the margins of the Ministerial dialogue on strengthening public health security in Africa that was held on 7 November 2016. 

The WHO Regional Director and the AfDB President agreed that areas such as universal health coverage and health system strengthening should be supported. In fact, lessons were learned from the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa that exposed weaknesses in these areas. “The African Development Bank is truly interested in strengthening health systems in Africa. The Ebola crisis revealed that no country was solid in that respect. There is no solid health system, and national authorities always react after the fact. Therefore, the Bank is interested in a strong partnership with WHO on this aspect,” AfDB President Adesina stated. Still in relation to health system strengthening, the AfDB President stated that the Bank was interested in supporting pillars such as strengthening health information systems, health insurance and strengthening of human resources for health. 

The WHO Regional Director for Africa also appealed for increased AfDB support for other priorities such as the establishment of the Africa Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC), the African Public Health Emergency Fund (APHEF), technologies for health (eHealth), and neglected tropical diseases. She underscored the significant progress made by WHO in supporting Member States in the various areas, while expressing the hope that such efforts would be further sustained by major financial backing from the African Development Bank. She expressed gratitude to the AfDB for the support it is providing in the area of neglected tropical diseases, notably the onchocerciasis programme and especially the establishment of the Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN). 

On the establishment of the Africa CDC, the AfDB President expressed his readiness to support the initiative, acknowledging that “it is a good idea because African countries are not ready to deal with complex emergencies”. Expressing surprise that the establishment of the structure was taking so long, he was of the view that WHO should play a facilitating role with the African Union in order to speed up the process. Moreover, he affirmed that his institution was ready to support the other priorities put forward by the WHO Regional Director.

The AfDB President equally raised and backed the idea of providing substantial support to the Nutrition Programme and for the control of counterfeit medicines. Concerning nutrition, he informed Dr Moeti that his institution was in the process of setting up a support group comprising high-level personalities, known as the “African leaders for nutrition”. The group comprises serving and retired heads of state, prominent business persons and other eminent African personalities. Their role will be to work with heads of state and ministers of finance in view of mobilizing additional financing for nutrition. He expressed the hope that the Director-General of WHO would become a member of the group. 

The WHO Regional Director for Africa proposed the setting up of a working group as well as a mechanism to monitor the new partnership between the AfDB and WHO. That proposal was accepted by the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akiwumi Adesina.

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For more information:

Technical contact:
Dr Jean-Marie Vianny Maurice YAMEOGO, WHO Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, 
Tel: 22517204
Email: yameogoj [at] who.int 

Media contact:
Mr Koné Souleymane, 
Communications Officer, 
Tel: 22517222, Mobile: 07148393
Email: koneso [at] who.int

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01 Dr Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and Dr Adesina, President of the African Development Bank

02 The AfDB and WHO teams flanking Dr Adesina and Dr Moeti

Click image to enlarge