Dr. Abiy Ahmed sent a message to the Ethiopian Muslims
How could these countries be better prepared against future epidemics, like Zika, for instance?
It is critical for countries to enhance their capacity and capabilities to prepare for and respond to any public health event that may threaten public health security by implementing the International Health Regulations. These are a set of rules adopted by all countries to strengthen their core capacities, provide adequate funding and collaborate with partners. They are also designed to enhance cross-border cooperation on preparedness and to respond to threats arising from epidemic- and pandemic-prone diseases. The participation of civil society and the private sector is also very crucial.
What practical steps can African countries take to improve their national health systems?
Countries should strengthen the leadership and governance of health sectors to gain the confidence of all stakeholders. Governments should be more innovative in raising revenues from domestic sources and ensuring that all of their populations have access to essential health services. They should also improve the quality of health services and the safety of patient and health workers, and build partnerships with civil society and other partners in order to expand access. Investing in district and community health systems should be a priority that can contribute towards universal health coverage and the achievement of the SDGs.