The West African College of Physicians (WACP) through a critical assessment of health systems in the sub-region has revealed that weak health infrastructures, coupled with limited financial accountability among member states, serve as a major challenge in the sector and region.
Over 200 delegates from the WACP took part in a week-long meeting to develop measures that will build resilient health systems in the sub-region in order to arrest or curtail any current or future outbreaks.
The assessment report of the region’s health systems was released in a communiqué at the end of the Annual General Scientific Meeting (AGSM) in Monrovia.
The provision of the findings by governments to health sectors in the region and building human resource capacity, especially the training of specialists in infectious disease control and management, were among important recommendations put forth by participants at the AGSM.
Dr. Sunday Malawo, who read the communiqué, said the “measures are aimed at promoting effective control of infectious diseases and combating future infectious disease outbreaks in the sub-region.
“Infrastructures are still fragile and lack financial accountability. Governments in the region should urgently address community health and promote accountability in order to avoid highly infectious diseases.
“With the issue of acute shortage of doctors and medical specialists, governments should provide high quality training for medical specialists to effectively combat infectious diseases; and governments should provide resources for the building of resilient health services.”
The communiqué also called on governments to empower sartorial health, human resources for health institutions, among others, which will help in promoting health institutions in the region.
“Community participation and accountability should be ensured; resource mobilization for the combating of highly infectious diseases must be encouraged; governments should build resilient health systems and collaborate with member states for effective coordination,” it stated.
The decision comes in the aftermath of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which killed over 10,000 of the region’s citizens, as well as ruining the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The communiqué also stressed that health sectors in the region must take into account their social implications on the people in the sub-region.
Meanwhile, 30 qualified individuals were admitted into the AGSM at the closure of the meeting.
Dr. Ifeoma Ebguonu, the first female president of the college and the 21st president since the college was established, called for closer cooperation, urging members to ensure that outlined goals are achieved. She added that “All the fellows should collaborate in their various countries and help in handling some of the challenges in the sector.
“As the 21st president, I want to dedicate this honor to my late parents who helped in making me to be who I am today. They helped me so dearly.”
She lauded the past leadership for the level of good work over the years in moving the college forward and ensuring that WACP has a new leader.
The WACP president is a Nigerian professor, and has served many positions within the WACP.