ECSA Forum Kicks Off Monday With Discussion On Effects Of Funding, Health Worker Shortages On MDGs

“Officially opening the East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) forum on best practices and joint consultative meeting on Monday, [Zimbabwe Minister of Health and Child Welfare Henry] Madzorera said the shortage of health workers and the growing burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases had slowed down progress” toward achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), NewsDay reports.

“These (delegates) will critically examine and debate the health challenges faced by the region and member states, share experiences on what is and what is not working in an effort to improve the performance of health systems in our countries,” Madzorera said. “The recommendations will enable member states [to] realise tangible progress towards the achievement of the health-related MDGs,” he added (Mafirakurewa, 10/25).

Directors and senior government officials from member states’ health ministries participated in the first day of the meeting, according to an ECSA press release. “The outcome and recommendations of the meeting will feed into the main conference of health ministers which will start on the fourth day of the conference,” the release notes. The press release includes several topics of discussion tackled on day one of the meeting, including nutritional supplements, universal health care and health care workers (10/25).

“According to ECSA, the conference would seek to build on deliberations and resolutions passed at the 50th Conference held in Uganda in February and expand the regional advocacy agenda to focus attention on the opportunities and challenges in harnessing evidence to effect positive transformations in health care in the region,” NewsDay continues. “The conference would also discuss evidence-based policy making and programming to improve health systems functions and prioritising non-communicable diseases and nutrition interventions, among other issues,” according to the news service (10/25).

During the meeting, “Minister Madzorera said there was a growing burden of communicable diseases such as HIV, TB, malaria and other non-communicable diseases that include diabetes that were making the achievement of the MDGs difficult,” and he noted the challenges African nations face in efforts to achieve MDG targets relating to infant, child and maternal mortality, the Herald/ reports (10/26).

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