leaders call for accelerated efforts to improve global health security
Geneva, 22 March 2007
Global health leaders today committed to upgrade international
health security, particularly in Africa and politically sensitive
areas. At a global health security summit held by the African
Medical Association (AfMA), health leaders from around the world
pledged to increase international collaboration for equal access
and health security.
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, regarded as an ambassador for health
security focusing on Africa,the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and womens
health, said Our children will not fully inherit the fruits
of the liberation if we cannot overcome the enormous health challenges
facing the continent of Africa. She added: My plea
is that Africa and all other vulnerable regions not be left out
of the global health security network.
Poverty and political instability can inhibit access to care,
especially in politically sensitive areas such as Somaliland.
Optimal health security is difficult to achieve, as these areas
are not officially recognized by international authorities.
It is not fair that a countrys people have to pay
the price of political instability through little or no access
to a secure health network, said Dr Kgosi Letlape, AfMA
President. Diseases spread and people die, but no one can
do anything because of poverty and political insecurity. This
has to change. Dr Letlape called on all health leaders to
ensure the universal application of the International Health Regulations,
to be implemented starting June 2007.
In Somaliland, the lack of a recognized, centralized and unified
government poses a major challenge for a coordinated HIV/AIDS
response. Security concerns and the ongoing reliance on the peace
process to build a more secure environment in Somalia will dramatically
affect the capacity and ability to scale up and establish services
for people living with HIV.
Global health security is the World Health Organizations
(WHO) designated theme for World Health Day this year. WHO is
also increasing human and financial resources to implement the
International Health Regulations. It is hoped that enhanced efforts
such as these will provide equal access to improve global health
AfMA is a recently established international organization representing
physicians in Africa that advocate the highest international standards
in medicine and health care for people in the continent.