The Africa Europe Foundation (AEF) on Thursday launched its 2021 flagship report on ‘Pandemic Preparedness and the Future of Healthcare’, an appeal to reposition health and climate at the heart of a revitalised Africa-Europe partnership and build added resilience into healthcare systems following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“An excellent report that … really sets out the opportunities for the Africa Europe Foundation in shaping the agenda, in recasting the narrative of what Africa-Europe relations are; what could be achieved in recognising the inter-dependence between the two; and the nexus between climate and health,” said Zeinab Badawi, Member of the Africa Europe Foundation’s High-Level Group of Personalities, President of SOAS, International Broadcaster and Member of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
The report, presented by the AEF’s High-Level Group of Personalities and supported by the World Health Summit, was launched in an online debate featuring experts from both continents.
Dr Wuleta Lemma, Honorary Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Digital Health and AI at Wollo University (Ethiopia), CEO of Lalibela Global-Networks and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health, outlined the report’s key findings and recommendations.
They include ensuring financial, manufacturing and supply-chain sovereignty in health; taking a holistic approach to health-climate-development nexus; and developing digital tools for strengthening healthcare systems.
“What COVID has taught us is: we are not alone, we cannot do it alone,” Lemma said. “We have to use the experience of COVID to bring more collaboration, more working together and more innovation, so that Africa and Europe can prepare for the next pandemic and also use this pandemic to build a resilient health system.”
To make that a reality, the report contains concrete guidelines pointing the way forward, including a commitment to increase the number of vaccine, medical-equipment, and pharmaceutical manufacturing hubs in Africa; setting up a Europe-Africa health workforce observatory; and a political declaration from European and African leaders at the upcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow that recognises the impact of the climate crisis on health and commits to building climate-resilient health systems.
“As we do in this report, we must link people’s health to the health of our planet,” said Gunilla Carlsson, Co-Chair of the Africa Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health and Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“We must rethink the way we organise health, rethink the imbalances among those who have and those who don’t,” she added, pointing to the failure to secure adequate supplies of coronavirus vaccines to Africa. “The need for global action has been so clear during the global COVID pandemic and we know that no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Launched this September, the latest series of “Talking Africa-Europe” broadcasts live on a monthly basis with a strategic focus on the centrality of local experience, shifting narratives and looking to cities and city leadership for a strengthened Africa-Europe partnership.
The 2021 ‘Talking Africa-Europe’ dialogues will bring together a host of diverse voices from city mayors, youth representatives, EU and AU Commissioners, as well as civil society and business leaders to open up and deepen the space for discussion on the future of this crucial relationship.
Supported by the World Health Summit, the Africa Europe Foundation will launch the 2021 flagship report of the Africa-Europe Foundation’s High-Level Group of Personalities (HLG) on “Pandemic Preparedness and the Future of Health Care”. The launch of the HLG Flagship Report represents a landmark moment for reinforcing health and climate at the heart of a strengthened Africa-Europe Partnership.
- Launch of the Talking Africa-Europe Series 2021 — Localising the Africa-Europe Partnership
- New Narratives for a Stronger Africa-Europe Partnership
- “Nobody is safe until everyone is safe.” A test of solidarity or the catalyst for Europe and Africa to do things differently?
- Health, welfare and prosperity: an EU-Africa partnership for a people-centred approach to human development
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As we move towards 2022, the global health pandemic is far from over. Despite early successes in limiting the spread of COVID 19, many African countries struggle to contain the virus as vaccination procurement remains restricted and new, more infectious variants emerge. Equally whilst multilateral mobilisation around COP26 and other key international climate milestones aim to ‘up’ the stakes and put pressure on global leaders, citizens and scientists are lamenting a slide in the opposite direction.
In order to tackle current and future challenges whilst taking into account Africa and Europe’s diverse needs, it is crucial to recognise that the climate imperative is also a health imperative. The ultimate health of populations rests firmly on the health of the planet and maintaining sustainable planetary boundaries. Africa and Europe can, and will have, a role to play in reshaping the international agenda to work at the nexus of health and climate, to tackle the crises of today in a way that guards against the challenges of tomorrow.
- What needs to be done to shift development narratives and recognize interdependency between climate and health?
- How can Africa and Europe collaborate to build climate-resilient health systems, and harness the health benefits of climate action?
- What can we learn from innovative local approaches and best practices that are already leading the way?
Member of the Board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation
Member of the Africa Europe Foundation’s High-Level Group of Personalities, President of SOAS, International Broadcaster and Member of the Board of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Dr Wuleta Lemma
Honorary Associate Professor and Director of the Center for Digital Health and AI at Wollo University (Ethiopia), CEO of Lalibela Global-Networks and Member of the Africa-Europe Foundation Strategy Group on Health
Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe
Gunilla Carlsson is a Swedish politician with extensive experience in developing the global health agenda. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Strategy Committee of the Global Fund, a Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), as well as a Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). Carlsson was previously the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and a Member of the European Parliament. Carlsson was also the Chair of the Swedish-initiated Commission on Climate Change and Development, and worked as Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS.
With more than 28 years’ experience, Wuleta Lemma brings expertise across several fields including international public health, healthcare management, pandemic surveillance and health information system development. She previously worked on developing global digital health and eGovernment solutions, and strategising infectious diseases programme implementations to support health systems worldwide. Lemma has also served as a technical expert in M&E, digital health, data quality and use, technology in health, and HIV/AIDS for different international organisations, and she introduced the first accelerated diploma training programme in Ethiopia to train young health information technicians.
Tamsin Rose is Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe. Having studied international relations, she has 25 years of experience working across the European continent from Ireland to Mongolia. A natural communicator, Tamsin has been a radio reporter, worked on press for the EU Delegation in Moscow and is currently a member of the external speaker team for the European Commission Directorate General for Communication, describing how the EU works and key policies to visitor groups from around the world. Since 2002 she has specialised in public health and public participation issues, serving as Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA), and providing strategic advice for health groups on how to engage successfully with the EU.
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