Continent's College of Health Sciences to be established
Site acquired, resources being mobilised
By Staff Writer
A special College of Health Sciences for the Eastern and Southern African Region has been launched in Arusha during the 58th Eastern, Central and South African (ECSA) Health Ministers Conference which was held here last week
According to the outgoing Chairperson of the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA), Dr Pinkie Manamolela, the proposed new institution is among the achievements of the 40 years milestone of ECSA.
Dr Manamolela, who is also the Lesotho Health Minister explained that already efforts to mobilize resources from a number of partners are going on with good progress and the institution will be established in Arusha.
A picturesque site for the institution had already been acquired in Ngaramtoni area near the Olmotonyi Forestry College, north west of the city.
''Presently ECSA has three constituent colleges including the East, Central and Southern Africa College of Nursing (ECSACON), the College of Surgeon for East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA) and the college for Pathologist of East, Central and Southern Africa (COPECSA) stated Dr Manamolela.
Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Health Community headquarters in Arusha. (Photo by Raymond John).
Another continental institution of higher learning located in Arusha is the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM AIST) in Tengeru.
It is one in a network of Pan-African Institutes of Science and Technology located across the continent. These top-notch institutes are a brainchild of Nelson Mandela.
The ECSA Health Ministers' Conference which ran under the theme of strengthening the Response to Emerging and Re-emerging Health Concerns brought together Ministers of Health, Senior Officials from Ministries of Health, Experts, Health Researchers and Heads of Health Training Institutions from Member States of the ECSA Health Community.
The diverse Collaborating Partners in the region and beyond gathered in Arusha with the aim of identifying policy issues and making recommendations for strengthening the region’s responses to emerging and re-emerging health concerns for improved health outcomes.
Meanwhile it was revealed during the conference that despite not meeting the Abuja AU Agreement in dedicating 15 per cent of its annual national budgets into the health sector, Tanzania is still doing well in combating a number of diseases.
The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Kebwe Stephen Kebwe, said the country has succeeded in addressing major health syndromes, including dealing with serious infections and ailments, through other auxiliary expense-sourcing means.
It was also observed during the ECSA Ministers’ Conference that despite significant growth in annual expenditure, for African governments, the share of private and public spending has remained largely the same.
Even after pledging in Abuja to commit 15 percent of their annual budgets to public health spending, nearly one-third of AU governments have reportedly reduced health expenditure since 2001 when the resolution was inked.
Mozambique, which had the second-highest health spending among AU governments in 2001, has so far cut health spending from 14.8 percent of its annual budget to just 7.8 percent as per year 2011 records, with Chad, where incidences of HIV and tuberculosis are said to be highest, slashed health spending 76.3 percent from 13.8 percent in 2001 to a measly 3.3 percent in 2011.
But some countries are said to have made significant progress toward meeting the goal including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which boosted health spending to a whopping 286.7 percent from 2.8 percent in 2001 to 10.8 percent in 2011. The DRC is likely to meet this goal provided public health spending increases at the current rate.
By 2011, six countries have also been able to meet and surpass the 15 percent target: Rwanda (23.8 percent), Liberia (18.9 percent), Malawi (18.5 percent), Zambia (16 percent), Togo (15.4 percent) and Madagascar (15.3 percent). Four countries are clearly on their way to meeting the Abuja target: Swaziland (14.9 percent), Ethiopia (14.6 percent), Lesotho (14.6 percent) and Djibouti (14.2 percent).
In general, AU governments have increased public health spending as a share of their annual budgets by 69 per cent. Higher domestic spending has helped reduce new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa by 25 per cent, and cut AIDS-related deaths by one-third.