The critical role of the IAEA in expanding access to quality health care in Africa was highlighted at the World Health Summit in Berlin last week.
The Summit brought together some 2,000 leaders from academia, politics, civil society and the private sector. Arriving from over 80 countries, its participants discussed the most pressing issues that medicine and health care systems face today and in the future.
At the panel session on ‘Strengthening Innovation and Health Systems in Africa: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’, IAEA Deputy Director General Dazhu Yang described the unique and very active part the IAEA plays in improving health care systems in developing countries, especially in Africa.
“Through its technical cooperation programme, the IAEA provides support to developing countries in the safe and effective use of radiation medicine and related nuclear techniques, and builds essential capacities in medical staff. We help Member States address growing global health challenges like cancer, cardiovascular diseases and malnutrition, but also communicable diseases and outbreaks of diseases such as Ebola and Zika,” he said.
“The IAEA also make an important contribution to the ‘determinants of health’ in areas such as food safety and security, water resource management, environmental protection and radiation safety, which help Member States address health related challenges,” he added.
The high level panel also comprised the Ministers of Health of Ghana, Kwaku Agyeman Manu and of Namibia, Berhard Haufiku, the Head of the Division of Health, Nutrition and Population at the African Union (AU), Margaret Anyetei-Agama, Head of the Global Health Portfolio of the Novartis Foundation, Bakhuti Shengelia and the two co-chairs, Luiz Loures, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS, and Roland Göhde, Chairman of the Board of GHP, a public-private partnership.
Panelists concluded that the Global Development Agenda 2030 provides a very important platform through which countries and the international community can focus attention on swiftly and sustainably improving health in Africa. The IAEA’s Yang expressed the continued commitment of the Agency to strongly support Member States in using nuclear technology for the health and well-being.
“We are building on our long-standing cooperation with Member States and a range of international organizations to leverage our common strengths,” he said. “Partnerships that promote integrated approaches to development ensure coordination and complementarity of activities and as a result we will achieve better health for people.”