African Heads of State, Health Experts Convene Virtually

Today the African Union (AU) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) opened the first international Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2021), with over 10,000 participants expected from 140 countries around the world.

The conference will feature presentations from African Heads of State and Government, dignitaries and leading health experts, who will discuss how to accelerate progress against COVID-19 and chart a new path forward for public health on the continent.

CPHIA 2021 comes at a critical time for Africa and the world. COVID-19 has strained health systems globally, and with dangerously limited access to vaccines across Africa, it has laid bare deep inequities in access to healthcare and scientific innovations. Less than 20 African countries met the global goal of vaccinating at least 10% of the adult population by 30 September 2021, while nearly 90% of high income-countries met this target. As of 3 December 2021, only 7% of the African population has been fully vaccinated, as many countries face a surge in new infections and the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern Omicron.

CPHIA 2021 is a virtual event and is free for all participants. It will feature seven scientific plenaries and eight parallel sessions, and more than 40 side events that focus on the main pillars of the African Union’s New Public Health Order to meet the aspirations of Agenda 2063 – the Africa We Want:

  • Expanded and strengthened African manufacturing of vaccine, diagnostics, and therapeutics;
  • Strengthened public health institutions for people-centered care;
  • Strengthened public health workforce;
  • Respectful action-oriented partnerships; and
  • Engagement with the private sector.

Additionally, CPHIA 2021 has 39 official side events running from 13-17 December 2021. These include a Joint Convening to Accelerate Global COVID-19 Vaccinations with over 50 global technical leaders to highlight vaccination bottlenecks and prioritize progress toward 40% vaccination targets at country-level. A special session on day two will also spotlight recent advances in the development of oral drugs for COVID-19, and highlight the most recent data on these medicines, as well as address financing, access models, testing and delivery issues.

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