February 11, 2020
On January 23, the African Affairs Committee held a health forum to discuss strategies for investing in global health preparedness in Africa.

The panel members focused on three separate areas pertaining to Global Health Preparedness on the Continent. Eric Friedman from the Georgetown Law O'Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law stressed the need for African countries to develop comprehensive, inter-sectoral, human rights-based plans to reduce health inequities. He strongly recommended that African governments achieve this through national health plans and development strategies.

Mr. Richard Seifman, former Senior Health Advisor at the World Bank, elaborated on the evolution of Global Health in Africa within the last century, underpinning the vitality of collaborative approaches. His remarks concentrated on global financial institutions and their attention to pandemic preparedness, as well as domestic bipartisan in the US Senate efforts to designate January 2020 as “One Health Awareness Month”. The African Union’s development of an African Center for Disease Control is now being strongly supported by the World Bank.

In closing, Mr. Andjelo Mwembya reiterated the need to engage youth in championing the Sustainable Development Goals across the Continent. Mr. Mwembya’s strategic vision is to establish a business and entrepreneurship program for young professionals across the US-African Diaspora that will allow their African-based peers to enhance, adapt, and apply their experience and expertise across industries.

The forum provided tangible recommendations to invest in global health preparedness across the Continent. In order to encourage African governments to promote health equity policies and strategies through their country dialogues with other NGOs, the panelists recommended the development of a program of action that may incentivize governments to seek funding. Whether these efforts are domestic or transnational, successful global health preparedness will require interdisciplinary collaboration.

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