The Work of WHO in the African region: annual report of the regional director
AbstractThe work of WHO in the African Region 2006 is a progress report on the implementation of the Programme Budget 2006-2007 in the African Region for the first year of the biennium. As a general orientation for 2006-2007, the Director-General was committed to the decentralization policy in order to strengthen WHO’s capacity in countries. This policy required delegation of authority and shifting appropriate human and financial resources to country level where they were most needed. 2. In line with this policy, the Regional Director, in a document entitled Strategic orientations for WHO action in the African Region, 2005–2009, defined five priorities for work. These included (i) strengthening the WHO country offices, (ii) improving and expanding partnerships for health, (iii) supporting the planning and management of district health systems, (iv) promoting the scaling up of essential health interventions related to priority health problems, and (v) enhancing awareness and response to the key determinants of health. 3. The areas of work constituted the essential organizational elements of the Programme Budget 2006-2007. This report thus presents the progress made during the year 2006 in the various areas of work. The report also highlights the main achievements with regard to the priorities of the Region. 4. The decentralization of WHO functions closer to countries and the establishment of the Intercountry Support Teams approached completion. There was increased technical support to all 46 countries based on the implementation of the Strategic orientations for WHO action in the African Region. This resulted in an increase of about 13% in technical support to countries over the previous year. The Regional Office was fully located in Brazzaville. Financial prudence was given considerable attention during the year. 5. In order to address the major health issues of the populations in the African Region, the main objective for 2006 was to scale up interventions and programmes towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). To achieve this, there was pursuit of greater partnerships and understanding of the critical factors affecting public health and the patterns of morbidity. A number of partnership meetings were held. One result was that various agencies, heads of state and stakeholders signed agreements to commit to specific health goals and intervention activities. In addition, the Partnership for Facilitating Health Development was created in collaboration with various development partners, the aim being to accelerate the achievement of the MDGs. Progress in reducing child and maternal mortality and morbidity remained slow, malnutrition was high, and there was increased stunting in several countries. Immunization services, however, made significant progress: DPT3 coverage was over 50% in 44 of the 46 countries of the Region. 6. HIV and AIDS remained major public health challenges in the African Region. An estimated 2.8 million adults and children were infected with HIV in 2006. This was more than all other regions of the world combined. HIV and AIDS remained the leading causes of mortality among adults aged 15–49. Provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART) expanded substantially. About 23% of the people in need of ART received the required drugs compared to 17% at the end of 2005. 7. The Africa Region continued to have the highest tuberculosis rates per capita. Defaulter and transfer out rates exceeded 15% in several countries. During the year, the existence of TB strains resistant to second-line anti-TB drugs was reported in the Region for the first time. Malaria still x negatively impacted on infant and maternal mortality. Despite the availability of cost-effective interventions and increased funding, coverage of at-risk populations remained unacceptably low. Avian flu received funding and technical support. Little progress was made in preventing and controlling the neglected tropical diseases. 8. Although access to prevention, treatment, care and support interventions for all conditions improved, it still fell short of demand. Inadequate human resources and weak health systems were some of the major contributing factors to limited access to health services. Gains were made in per capita expenditure on health, but macroeconomic policies did not fully impact on health service delivery. Improvements are still needed in a number of factors relating to public expenditure targets, inflation control, tobacco tax, and alternative health financing mechanisms. 9. In 2007, a concerted effort will be made to scale up activities using enabling factors such as synergistic interventions across the three levels of the Organization, as well as closer collaboration with the African Union, Economic Commission for Africa and regional economic communities. Working relationships with United Nations agencies, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, bilateral donors, and public and non-government sectors will be pursued.
Regional Committee for Africa, 57. (2007). The Work of WHO in the African region: annual report of the regional director. WHO. Regional Office for Africa. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/92248
DescriptionRegional Committee for Africa fifth-seventh Session Brazzaville, Republic of Congo 27–31 August 2007
Gov't Doc #AFR-RC57-2
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