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Health Systems, HIV/AIDS, Malaria Discussed At WHO Regional Committee Meeting

Luis Gomes Sambo, WHO regional director for Africa, on Tuesday at the 59th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, presented a nine-point guide suggesting malaria control strategies for African countries, Agencia AngolaPress reports. Suggested approaches include updating policies and strategic plans, strengthening research and scaling up supplies of medicines (9/1).

On Monday, Rwandan President Paul Kagame met with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe to discuss “the state of the general health sector,” New Times/allAfrica.com reports. “Rwanda is a shining example of good management and good leadership which is a good example for the rest of Africa,” Chan said, pointing to the country’s “very effective” medical insurance scheme that allows all citizens “to access health services at a cheaper cost.”

Chan and Kagame also discussed “HIV/AIDS, H1N1 (Swine Flu) and also how African countries can develop capacity to build sustainable and functional health systems that would lead to achieving Millennium Development Goals,” New Times/allAfrica.com writes. Richard Sezibera, the minister of health, said Chan promised that between 10 and 20 percent of the new swine flu vaccines will be sent to developing countries.

After the meeting, Sidibe praised Rwanda’s fight against HIV/AIDS. He noted manufacturing drugs locally could bring down the cost and said that about 96 percent of drugs are currently imported (Kagire, 9/1).

Also on Monday at the WHO meeting, Rwandan First Lady Jeanette Kagame “called on African governments to be more supportive of the Africa AIDS Vaccine Program (AAVP) – an initiative that aims at finding a preventative measure against the pandemic,” New Times/allAfrica.com reports.

“It is imperative for us to own this process and truly begin to set our own agenda in the fight against HIV/ AIDS. I appeal to all African governments to be more engaged in their technical, financial and political support for the vaccine,” she said. The article includes additional remarks from the first lady and reactions to her comments (Nambi, 9/1).