International Conference on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa

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18 April 2008 -- The WHO Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with development partners and the Government of Burkina Faso, is organizing an International Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC) and Health Systems in Africa. The Conference coincides with the 30th Anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration adopted in 1978 and the 60th Anniversary of WHO established in 1948.

What ?        International Conference on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa: Towards the Achievement   of the Millennium Development Goals

When ?       28-30 April, 2008

Where ?      Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (Venue: Ouaga 2000 Conference Centre)

Who ?         The President of Burkina Faso, H.E. Blaise Compaore, is expected to open the conference which will be attended by more than 500 participants from within and outside Africa. The participants include Ministers of Health, policy and decision-makers  and managers of health services;  researchers, academicians,  and social anthropologists; bilateral partners;  representatives of  training institutions and ministries operating in the area of health (e.g. education and finance ministries);  and representatives of multilateral institutions, international organizations, civil society and the private sector, among others.

Why ?         The conference will;

  • Examine lessons learnt in 30 years  of  PHC  implementation in the African Region
  • Identify strategic orientations for scaling up essential interventions to achieve health related MDGs using the PHC approach for strengthening health systems.
  • Renew commitment of all countries in the region in moving forward PHC to strengthen health systems
  • Promote regional partnerships to strengthen health systems and PHC implementation

It is also expected to galvanize the spirit of Alma-Ata and renew commitment to the attainment of the health millennium development goals through

  • Re-affirming the PHC principles of accessibility, public participation, appropriate technology and intersectoral action
  • Sustaining the stewardship role of governments at central and local levels
  • Scaling up universal access of quality health services, based on the successful models in the region
  • Making partnerships work at the community, national, regional and global levels and collectively contribute to improving the health outcomes of people in the African Region.
The  Conference is expected to adopt a new Regional Declaration, similar in spirit to Alma-Ata, which would propose the development and implementation of public policies and strategies at both regional and national levels to continue to improve the health of people in the African Region.
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For more information about the conference please visit the conference web site   http://www.afro.who.int/phc_hs_2008/index.html and/or  contact:

Dr Amidou Baba-Moussa
baba This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tel:+226 50 306 509

Dr Alima A.J. Diarra
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Tel: +47  241 392

Dr Saidou Pathé Barry
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Tel: + 47 241 39337

Mr. Rodrigue  Barry
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Tel: + 226 70 21 43 12

Mr Samuel Ajibola
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+47 241 39378

Mr. Collins Boakye-Agyemang
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Tel: +47 39420

Madam Flavienne Issembe
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Tel: +47 39352

Madam Joana Teixeira
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Tel:+47 39382

Note to Editors and Correspondents:

Accreditation of journalists:   Reporters, cameramen and photojournalists will be accredited on arrival. To facilitate this, they are kindly requested to bring along 2 passport size photographs.

Plenary and parallel sessions:  These are open to journalists.  Closed sessions will be communicated to journalists covering the conference.

Press Centre / Press Briefings and Conferences /Request for press interviews
A Press Centre equipped with PC terminals with internet access will be available at the Ouaga 2000 Conference Centre. The press corps will   be duly informed of Press Briefings and scheduled Press Conferences by WHO Communications Officers who will be on hand to assist journalists with arranging interviews with delegates.

Background Notes for Editors

The Alma-Ata Declaration

The Alma-Ata Declaration defined Primary Health Care as

“essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable  methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the  community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and the  country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self- reliance and self-determination”

The Decaration was adopted in 1978 at a meeting on   primary health care convened by WHO and UNICEF in Alma-Ata, capital of the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan in the former Soviet Union. The meeting was attended by 134 countries and 67 international organizations.

The slogan Health for All by the Year 2000   was created at the  30th  World Health Assembly in 1997 (a year before Alma-Ata) as a vision for the attainment by all peoples of the world by 2000 of a level of health that would permit them to lead socially and economically productive lives as a main social target of governments, international organizations and communities.

The Alma-Ata Declaration endorsed PHC as the main strategy for attaining the target,   and re-affirmed WHO’s definition of health in 1946 as: “state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

The ideology behind Primary Health Care
The ideology behind PHC is based on the recognition that health promotion and protection are essential for sustained economic and social development and contribute to better quality of life.

Pillars of PHC:   PHC is regarded as a cost-effective approach and its principles include social justice, equity, human rights, universal access to services, community involvement and priority to the most vulnerable and underprivileged.

Core elements of PHC:  PHC envisaged universal coverage of basic services such as education on methods of preventing and controlling prevailing health problems; promotion of food security and proper nutrition; adequate   safe water supply and basic sanitation; maternal and child health care, including family planning; vaccination against major infectious diseases; prevention and control of locally endemic diseases; appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries, and provision of essential drugs.   Since Alma-Ata other elements have been added to this list by individual countries. One such element added by most countries is Mental Health