By Chinezerem Agbakuru
In a bid to strengthen the public health system in Africa, the second edition of the International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) is set to hold this year in Kigali, Rwanda in December 2022.
In an interview with the Executive Secretary. Abia State Primary Healthcare Development Agency Dr Chinagozi Adindu on topical issues conducted by a broadcast journalist from the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State, Chinezerem Agbakuru, Dr Adindu made it clear that Africa is not poised to handle another pandemic hence the essence of the conference.
Dr Adindu further stated that the COVID-19 pandemic pointed out loopholes in healthcare system in Africa. He stated that Africa does not have the necessary means or manpower to conduct research.
The full interview reads;
Question: The second edition of the International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) is set to hold this year in Kigali, Rwanda with the theme Preparedness for Future Pandemic And Post-Pandemic Recovery: Africa at a Crossroad. How prepared do you think Africans are to handle any pandemic that may emerge?
That is actually the essence of of this conference. We’re bringing together Afriders, researchers and policymakers. The idea is to strengthen health institution’s capacities and capabilities to confront pandemics. If we must be honest war ourselves, however, at the moment Africa is not really capable of handling another pandemic now.
Question: Is it possible that Africa can muster resources and put up a fight should we have another r pandemic?
Actually, the Covid-19 pandemic opened our eyes to so many loopholes in the health sector in Africa. It showed us that we do not have strong public health institutions, that we do not have the capacity for effective research, the required manpower – partly due to brain drain, that we lack the required basic medical equipment and as a result, the workers are poorly motivated if these problems are dressed, I strongly believe that Africa can confront pandemics in the future.
Question: Do you think the Covid-19 pandemic has brought any positive result in Nigeria’s health sector?
Yes, not only in Nigeria but also in the world at large because it exposed the nakedness of the health sector and in many countries of the world many leaders have realised the need to strengthen their health sector and get prepared for any other pandemic. You know during the outbreak covid-19, a lot of people died, and economies collapsed, so I think we have learnt from our sons.
Question: As a health practitioner and a leader in the health sector in what ways do you suggest we can fight outbreak of diseases in Africa?
To fight pandemics, we need to create awareness, and often engage and educate the public. Also, health workers need to be at home with the theology, pathogenesis and prognosis of diseases so that if there is a pandemic they will know what to do.
We equally need to equip our health institutions, train our personnel and encourage research.
It is important as well to engage and train more health workers. These will go a long way in preparing us for any pandemic.
Question: This conference we understand, will have in attendance various African leaders, researchers, and other stakeholders. Do you think the results, solutions and suggestions proffered by these professionals will be implemented?
Well, that is subjective: it has to do with the individual leader. If the leaders muster the political will to address issues, suggestions and recommendations that will be raised, that will take Africa out of the woods. We pray our leaders would have learnt from the Covid-19 Dr experience.
Question: I believe some of your staff will be attending the conference.
Question: How prepared are you to work with the results of this conference at least in your domain?
In Abia state here we have always been proactive. With our team of enthusiastic health workers, we have made it a point of duty to ensure that our people are adequately protected from health-friendly diseases and death hence, those who will attend from here will in our usual practice cascade the information they receive to others and from there we will do the needful.
We are privileged to have a health-friendly Governor who is very proactive, so e believe implementation will not be a problem.