First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo with participants after the opening ceremony
First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has called on health experts, especially those in the field of infectious diseases, to break away from the old ways of doing things to adopting innovative ways that can bring timely healthcare services to millions of people who need them on the African continent.
“We need to innovate. Innovation is one way of breaking new ground, breaking barriers and doing business away from the beaten path. We must ensure that effective technologies, products and services do, indeed, reach the millions of people who need them,” she said.
The first lady mentioned that science, technology and innovative methods of delivering healthcare can be enhanced when various tools, skills, knowledge and financial resources are integrated to solve the challenges facing Africa.
“This calls for all stakeholders to work together in a concerted, sustainable effort. Indeed, a nation’s ability to create, acquire and utilise scientific and technological know-how is now widely acknowledged to be a major determinant of its capacity to improve its people’s quality of life,” she indicated.
Mrs Akufo-Addo was addressing international health experts at the opening ceremony of the 3rd African Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases & Biosecurity on the theme: ‘pandemic preparedness. Biosecurity and infrastructure in the wake of the Ebola outbreaks’.
Opening the three-day conference which affords participants the opportunity to engage and brainstorm in the fight against emerging infectious diseases, the first lady agreed to the fact that Africa was challenged with increasing incidences of emerging infectious diseases.
She stated that the situation, coupled with the dynamics of inadequate healthcare facilities and shortage of human capacity in medical and allied sciences, pose a challenge to the capacity of African countries to deal with infectious diseases like Ebola, yellow fever, meningitis and Lassa fever.
“This is even more worrying when infectious diseases have increasingly become unusual in their magnitude, in the way they spread and in the way they combine with other problems in the environment to present even bigger challenges,” she added.
Mrs Akufo-Addo, however, mentioned that the Africans can deal with their own challenges if experts pool together their knowledge and ideas.
“I have no doubt that we have the solutions to the challenges of emerging infectious diseases,” she said.
The annual conference was organised by the Global Emerging Pathogens Treatment Consortium, in collaboration with regional and international partners like the Noguchi Memorial Institute.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri