Uganda is set to host the prestigious 2020 World Health Summit Regional Meeting on April 27-28, 2019 at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Uganda will be the first African country to host this annual meeting that will be organized by Makerere University in partnership with the Government of Uganda. Makerere University is Uganda’s largest and oldest institution (circa 1922) of higher learning and one of Africa’s best. Composed of nine colleges and one school, Makerere offers 284 programs to about 36,000 undergraduates and 4,000 postgraduates and has remained a center of academic excellence for the past 90 years
The World Health Summit, one of the world’s leading strategic forums for global health with a mission of improving health worldwide, brings together leaders from politics, science and medicine, the private sector and civil society to set the agenda for a healthier future. Uganda’s Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng shares similar sentiments about the Regional Meeting 2020;
“This is a great opportunity for the world to focus on Africa’s health, learn from its successes, and lay strategies for future collaborations.”
The World Health Summit is the annual conference of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. M8 Alliance is a network of 28 members in 19 countries, including the InterAcadamy Partnership, which represents the national academies of medicine and science in 130 countries. Through the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP) for Health, it is organized in collaboration with all National Academies of Medicine and Science. The World Health Summit started in Berlin, Germany in 2009 according to Prof. Detlev Ganten, the President of the World Health Summit.
The World Health Summit is built on the stable foundation of academic excellence provided by the M8 Alliance with strong political support from a variety of partners at global, national and Institutional levels. The Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda believe that it is in such gatherings that interventions to guide policymakers and implementers are arrived at.
The theme of the 8th World Health Summit Regional Meeting in Kampala is Africa’s journey towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.
Among the topics to be discussed is; Technology for Health in Africa. This to me is a timely topic for Uganda, considering the fact that Uganda’s Health Sector needs to take the digital path. There is limited availability and access to online medication which calls for urgency in developing strong health technology.
The summit will also focus mainly on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD); diseases that are not transmissible directly from one person to another. These include; diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, osteoporosis, chronic lung disease, stroke, and heart disease. They are still the leading cause of death globally, responsible for 63% of the total deaths in 2008 globally. Without action, the NCD epidemic is projected to kill 52 million people annually by 2030.
Other topics of the 2020 World Health Summit Regional Meeting include; The Health of the African Youth; Advancing Technology for Health in Africa; Global Health Security; Inter-Sectoral Action for Health and Universal Health Coverage.
Since inception, the World Health Summit has been working towards one goal of improving health for everyone globally. Industries from Germany and Europe will showcase their products and technologies and this will give chance to Ugandans to establish partnerships that will help them develop their own initiatives.
Among the benefits of hosting this summit as listed by the hosts are; visibility for Makerere University and Uganda on the international scene, tourism boost with over 1000 foreign guests expected and creation of professional, expert, and student networks.
The summit will also promote the sharing of knowledge and best practices, open a window for the exchange of scientific achievements and provide insights on finding new answers to the persistent global health challenges especially strategies in narrowing the Inequality gaps. It will further foster Interaction of the Academia, civil society, Government and private sector to discuss global health topical issues that determine health and contribute strategic solutions.
The writer, Arthur Musinguzi, is a Communications Assistant, Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance