Stronger healthcare systems across Africa are paramount important for the continent to register the tangible socio-economic transformation.
This was observed by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday while speaking at the event on Breast and Cervical cancer organised by the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) held in New York on the margins of the ongoing 73rd UN General Assembly.
The event was also attended by the First Lady Jeannette Kagame.
President Kagame, who is also the Chairperson of the African Union, expressed that as far as “life-saving treatment comes too late, if it can be accessed at all” in Africa, locals who fall ill are more likely to die than people in other regions.
“Africa cannot achieve socio-economic transformation when our people are not in good health,” He said
“Non-communicable diseases, especially cancer are a growing public health threat on our continent exacerbated by weak health systems that we must keep strengthening.” The president added
The head of state also noted that the lack of adequate representation of female doctors has left a big gender gap in the health sector, which in return results in female patients deferring treatment for sensitive conditions until it is too late.
He noted that the situation is most acute with diseases that only affect women, such as breast and cervical cancer.
Without proactive, gender-sensitive policy-making, women’s unique health needs are likely to be neglected by health systems, Kagame noted.
“Persistent gender inequality adds another layer of risk for the health of women and girls. Lower income and education levels among other factors, contribute to disproportionately negative health outcomes,” Kagame said.
He urged leaders to consider similar effort in combating HIV/AIDS to fighting cancer in African. Integrating routine cancer screening into primary healthcare facilities could go a long way in increasing the likelihood of early detection and treatment, Kagame underlined.
“We have seen good results in controlling other complex medical challenges such as HIV/AIDS. These experiences hold valuable lessons for the fight to protect women’s health.
“First, there is already consensus globally and in Africa, about the positive impact of Universal Health Insurance. It can be made affordable at every income level and it saves lives,” he added.
President Kagame also noted that there’s need to continue investing in innovative partnerships to build strong and sustainable national health systems, and Increased political will is required to meet these strategic objectives
The Express News