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Strong health systems critical in addressing health threats in the African Region

Brazzaville, 8 April 2015 – The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti has called on the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Republic of Congo to advocate with their national governments to strengthen health systems to be able to address the health challenges facing the African Region. She briefed the diplomats about the on-going Ebola epidemic in West Africa, current and emerging health threats in the WHO African Region, progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the strategic priorities for WHO’s work in the Region for 2015-2020. The Regional Director underscored the importance of strong national health systems to be able to withstand epidemics and emergencies while delivering essential health services to people who need them most. Dr Moeti pointed out that the Ebola epidemic has had devastating impacts on families, livelihoods, security, health workforce, service delivery and overall socioeconomic development of the seve…
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WHO staff on the ground essential to breaking Ebola transmission chains

Freetown/ Brazzaville, 24 August 2015 – Ongoing efforts to get to zero Ebola cases in Sierra Leone are yielding good results. This follows a massive deployment of experts by the World Health Organization and partners, to track and break each and every transmission chain of Ebola virus disease (EVD) through linking intensive community engagement and social mobilization efforts with surveillance and contact tracing. 

The tracking and breaking of transmission chains requires tremendous numbers of qualified staff to work with the communities to identify if a person has been in contact with someone infected with EVD, monitor them for symptoms for up to 21 days, and to quickly isolate and treat them in a treatment centre if symptoms develop. 

“Stopping Ebola transmission chains has required rapid mobilization of human and financial resources; this has been my top priority since my appointment,” says Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. 

“Over 530 highly-skilled staff are curr…

Renowned public health experts and leaders endorse a vision for an Africa Health Transformation Programme to enhance health in the African Region

An Independent Advisory Group (IAG), comprising renowned public health experts and leaders, has endorsed the Africa Health Transformation Programme 2015–2020: a vision for universal health coverage, proposed by Dr Moeti, the World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa. At its inaugural meeting held in Johannesburg from 4-5 May 2015, the IAG congratulated the Regional Director for convening the IAG and for her vision, calling it a step in the right direction and a testimony to her personal commitment to change the work of WHO in the African Region. In her opening remarks, Dr Moeti observed that addressing the health challenges in the African Region required rethinking of the way the WHO Secretariat approaches the planning and implementation of health programmes and services in support to Member States.  It is expected that the implementation of the Transformation Programme will address the unacceptable inequities and injustices in the Region’s health development. “We are ta…

WHO Regional Director applauds the contribution of communities in the fight against Ebola in Liberia

Monrovia, 22 April 2014 - The WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti has underscored the importance of involving the communities in the fight against Ebola.
Speaking to residents of Zuma town, Monrovia, one of the communities which were heavily affected by the Ebola virus disease, Dr Moeti commended the high level of involvement by the community and the tremendous efforts to stop Ebola in Liberia. “We admire your courage and ability to adjust to fight the disease because of your efforts we stand here today counting down for Liberia to be declared free of Ebola,” Dr Moeti said.

In her remarks, the Mayor of Monrovia Clara Mvogo appreciated the very important role the community played and she called on them to continue their positive behaviour practices for other non- Ebola related issues.

Welcoming the Regional Director, Honourable Alice Wear, and Governor of New Kru town expressed her gratitude on behalf of the community to WHO and other partners for the support in respon…

Kenya hosts commemoration to accelerate comprehensive implementation of WHO FCTC in the African Region

Nairobi, 25 February 2015 -- The WHO meeting to commemorate the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) started in Nairobi today with members and participants commending great milestones but cautioning that a lot is still needing to be done to save lives from the tobacco epidemic. The meeting attended by Member States outlines the implementation status for each state and what still remains to be done to protect African citizens from tobacco use and tobacco-related deaths. Forty-three of the 47 member states have ratified the convention, with Eritrea, South Sudan and Malawi yet to ratify. Mozambique is a signatory. The meeting which was addressed by various speakers also commended and welcomed new members, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti, in her speech read on behalf by Kenya’s Country Representative, Dr Custodia Mandlhate, said that tobacco, a leading cause of death, illness and impoverishment, was one of the biggest public…

WHO celebrates 10 years of tobacco control in the African Region

Nairobi, 25 February 2015 – On 27 February, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates 10 years of implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in the African Region. Tobacco kills an estimated 6 million people every year but the true impact remains untold due to the lag of several years between when people start using tobacco and when their health suffers. To date, 43 of 47 Member States in the WHO African Region have ratified the WHO FCTC and are implementing national tobacco policies, laws and regulations. However, much remains to be done and urgent actions are required to prevent the effects of this scourge of modern times. Besides premature death, the use of tobacco robs families of incomes, raises health care costs, and hinders economic developments. “WHO is committed to fighting this global tobacco epidemic and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control reaffirms peoples’ right to the highest standard of health.  All stakeholders must counte…

Safe breastfeeding key to improve children's health

Brazzaville, 12 January 2015 – Every day an estimated 8000 children die in sub-Saharan Africa from easily preventable or treatable illnesses. Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to provide newborns, infants and young children with the nutrients that they need while protecting them against conditions such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, and measles. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding that starts within one hour after birth and lasts until a baby is six months old. Continued breastfeeding and appropriate complementary foods should be made available for up to two years of age and beyond. In mid-2013,WHO issued new guidelines for breastfeeding and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. These recommendations were intended for use in resource-poor settings in low-and middle-income countries. Read the full press release here