Africa health sector still needs more work: WHO official



ADDIS ABABA (AA) – In spite of the tangible progress the health sector in Africa achieved, a lot remains to be done, World Health Organization (WHO) Country Director in Ethiopia Fatoumata Nafo-Traore believes.

“A lot has been done in terms of progress made,” Nafo-Traore told a press conference on Friday on her bid for the higher office of WHO Regional Director for Africa.

Listing the points of progress for the African health sector, Nafo-Traore said that the continent achieved a 50 percent reduction in maternal mortality rate from 2000.

“The tuberculosis’ burden decreased a lot,” she went on to say.

Yet,  the triple threat of Malaria, HIV and TB still pose the most critical challenge in the health delivery system in Africa, she said.

In the face of food insecurity, too many people would be suffering also from malnutrition, she added.

“Africa can tackle this through better coordination and solidarity with the private sector to make the health sector in the continent more efficient,” she said.

She also called for expanded access to health services, efficient system of social health insurance and adequate financing.

Nafo-Traore has been working for four years and a half as WHO’s Country Representative in Ethiopia.

In a promotional release issued on the occasion, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta showed endorsement to her bid for the post of WHO Regional Director for Africa, saying his decision came “after a thorough analysis of her integrity, expertise and professionalism.”

Nafo-Traore has served before as Mali’s minister of health and minister of social development and is currently the executive director of Roll Back Malaria, a global public-private partnership to fight malaria in Africa.

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