EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA: Health ministers of the West African regional bloc, Ecowas are meeting in Banjul, The Gambia to discuss the region’s health matters. This is the 19th ordinary Assembly of the health ministers organised by West Africa Health Organization (WAHO).
Africa confronts the world’s most dramatic public health crisis but in a report published last year, the global health agency WHO offers hope that over time the region can address the health challenges it faces, given sufficient international support.
WAHO director general Professor Stanley Okolo said the health ministers’ assembly is the decision making body Ecowas on health and it offers health advice. He any decision agreed at the Banjul meeting will be binding on all once approved by the ministers.
Professor Okolo said WAHO is the regional Agency charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the health of the peoples in the sub-region through the initiation and harmonization of the policies of Member States, pooling of resources, and cooperation with one another and with others for a collective and strategic combat against the health problems of the sub-region.
Established in 1987 when the Heads of State and Government from all fifteen countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted the Protocol creating the organization and each government subsequently ratified it, WAHO has transcended linguistic borders and hurdles in the sub-region to serve all fifteen ECOWAS Member States.
The Protocol, grants WAHO status as a Specialized Agency of ECOWAS and describes the organization’s mission as ‘the attainment of the highest possible standard and protection.
“Our region has suffered several from several diseases which all brought to fore the strengthening of our health system,” Professor Okolo said but said they are keen to attracted competent Africans to address health diseases in the region.
He said WAHO will not relent in its work, telling the ministers and liaison officers that WAHO can count on their support in disease control.