Health and Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera says lack of funding in the health sector on the African continent has slowed the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Officially opening the East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) forum on best practices and joint consultative meeting on Monday, Madzorera said the shortage of health workers and the growing burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases had slowed down progress.
The conference is being held under the theme, “Moving from knowledge to action: harnessing evidence to transform healthcare”.
“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,” said Madzorera.
“The recommendations will enable member states realise tangible progress towards the achievement of the health-related MDGs.”
He said the region was concerned with the rising burden of non-communicable and lifestyle diseases that included obesity and nutrition-related disorders.
The conference has brought together ministers of health from member states of the ECSA Health Community, diverse collaborating partners in the region and beyond with an aim of identifying policy issues and recommendations in improving utilisation of evidence to effect positive transformation in health care.
ECSA director general Josephine Kibaru-Mbae said presentations from the forum would form part of the recommendations to the health ministers’ conference and form the basis for ministers’ resolutions.
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.
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.
The Millennium Development Goals are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states agreed to achieve by the year 2015.
They include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates and fighting epidemics such as HIV and Aids.