Uganda's Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.

Health ministers and health representatives from 47 African countries will meet in Lomé, Togo either in person or virtually for the Seventy-second session the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa. The Regional Committee is the WHO decision-making body that convenes once a year to discuss and endorse regional policies, activities and financial plans to improve people’s health and well-being.

More than 400 participants, including WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Ministers of Health and senior health ministry officials from the 47 Member States, representatives of the African Union, United Nations agencies, civil society, bilateral and multilateral organizations and other development partners are expected to attend this annual flagship event.

On the eve of the 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, WHO and the Government of Togo hold the Walk the Talk event to encourage everyone to be physically active and make healthy lifestyle choices.

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The 72nd Session of the WHO Regional Committee opens with remarks from Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadém, President of Togo, Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development for the African Union, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General and Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

African health ministers will review and are expected to endorse a new strategy to boost access to the treatment of severe noncommunicable diseases at district hospitals.

A panel of African health ministers from high-burden countries, medical professionals and leaders from international organizations aim to bring sickle cell disease out of the shadows and urge stronger national prioritization, especially with budgets.

Insights on what has and has not worked for strengthening health systems to simultaneously maintain essential services while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will be followed by what investments and actions are needed to ensure the full range of quality medical products and health technologies to achieve universal health coverage and respond to future public health emergencies in Africa.

African health ministers are expected to endorse a new strategy that aims to reduce the health and socioeconomic impacts of health emergencies, incorporating lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This event will highlight a call to action by the African Union and WHO, in collaboration with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Stop TB Partnership. The partners are urging African countries to ensure a holistic and comprehensive response that ends the suffering of childhood tuberculosis.

This high-level event will feature updates on activities regarding the wild poliovirus type 1 cases (WPV1) reported in Malawi and Mozambique as well as on ongoing response to non-wild variant poliovirus in the African Region. After the outbreak update, presentations will focus on polio priorities, including surveillance and transition as well as on the need to strengthen routine immunization in the Region. Active discussions will follow on the ongoing threat of polio in Africa as well as a call to action that member states recommit to ending polio in Africa for once and for all.

Health Ministers are expected to endorse an updated strategy that will revitalize action on environmental determinants of human health. It integrates recommendations from the WHO manifesto for a healthy recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.