Opening Address by Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, at the RC 67 Side Event: Blood Safety

Submitted by teklemariamm on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 10:00

Honorable panelists: 
Dr Mohammad Anwar HUSNOO, Minister of Health of Mauritius;
Professor Hawa Marie COLL-SECK, Minister of Health of Senegal; 
Dr Anne Marie ANTCHOUEY, Director General of Health of Gabon; 
Dr Jackson KIOKO, Director of Medical Services of the Republic of Kenya
Honorable Ministers of Health present here;
Our partners and stakeholders in blood safety;
Distinguished delegates, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen;

Welcome to this side event which aims to update you on the current situation on safe blood and availability of blood and blood products in the WHO African Region, as reflected in the 2016 report. 

I am grateful to the Honorable Ministers and heads of delegations of Mauritius, Senegal, Gabon and the Republic of Kenya for making time to co-chair this side event despite their busy schedules.

There are a number of reasons why we urgently need to improve the availability of blood and blood products in the African Region. 

Firstly, the African Region continues to bear a significant proportion of the global burden of diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C, malaria, anaemia and non-communicable diseases; as well as high rates of infant and maternal mortality, and road traffic accidents. All these are on the increase and depend on the availability of blood in a timely manner to save lives.

Secondly, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola virus disease, Zika virus and yellow fever threaten blood safety.

Then, most of our Member States are heavily dependent on donor financing of blood safety programmes. However, most of this funding is piecemeal and trickles slowly to blood safety, or is diverted to other health programmes. 

These constraints have contributed to the non-achievement of some of WHO’s targets contained in the blood safety regional strategy. 

For all of us here to continue making progress in blood safety and availability of blood and blood products in our Region, we need a paradigm shift. 

In order to mitigate these challenges,

  1. WHO is positioning itself to support countries in improving strategies to mitigate foreseen and unforeseen challenges, but we’ll need the support and cooperation of national governments. 
  2. A Regional Strategy for blood safety was adopted by the Fifty-first session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Namibia in 2001. This Framework urged Member States to reach four main targets at the end of 2012.
  3. The aim of this session to seek ways on how, together, we can better implement the Regional Strategy. 

I would like to officially open this event by welcoming the presentation of the key findings of 2016 Blood Safety Report by AFRO’s Cluster Director of Health Systems Strengthening, Dr Delanyo Dovlo, and reiterating our gratitude to the Honourable Ministers of Health of Gabon, Republic of Kenya, Mauritius and Senegal for honouring our invitations. 

I invite the Honourable Ministers of Health to make comments and remarks after the short presentation of the Report. 

Thank you for your attention.