Meles Urges Low Cost Health System to Ease ProblemsMay 8th, 2009
Africa should come up with a health system that can be done on the cheap if it has to tackle problems it faces in regards to shortage of financial and human resources, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
"We felt that establishing a universal and adequate health service system required a lot of money and we did not have that," Meles said in his opening remarks at the fourth session of the African Union conference of ministers of health here at the AU headquarters.
"We felt we needed a lot of highly trained manpower, and we did not have that either, because among other things those that we trained left us seeking greener pasture," he added.
Meles said the challenges that the continent identified as inhibiting efforts to provide adequate health service system are likely to continue.
"If that is the case, then we have to devise a health system that can be done on the cheap," Meles recommended.
Meles said however that the solution for the problem would not be unthinkable.
He told the ministers that the continent's health care system should be dependent on the mass training of paramedics who, he said, have limited market for their skills in the developed markets.
"We should come up with solutions that work in the resource constrained environment we live in," he underscored.
Issues including Africa's preparedness to face the Swine Flu, Africa's status in achieving the MDGs 4 and 5 and Financing of the health sector in Africa are being discussed at the 4th session of the African Union Ministers of Health.
The theme of the 5-day conference is "Universal Access to Essential Health Services: Maternal Health, Neonatal and Child Health".
The gathering also launched a campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa.
Adv, Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the AU said the main objective of the Campaign was to accelerate the availability and use of universally accessible quality health services including those related to sexual and reproductive health which are critical for the reduction of maternal mortality.
"The focus is not to develop more strategies and plans but rather to ensure coordination and the effective implementation of the plans and strategies," the commissioner noted in her key note address to the conference.