Stakeholders in health and development from all over the world will, from 5-8 March, assemble in Kigali, Rwanda, for the fifth edition of The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) 2023, whose theme is “Resilient Health Systems for Africa: Re-envisioning the Future Now”.
Jointly convened by Amref Health Africa, Ministry of Health Rwanda, African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), the biennial conference will bring together the continent’s top thought leaders, political figures, innovators, researchers, policy makers and civil society for dialogue and action aimed at mainstreaming climate discourse into health policy conversations and vice versa.
“This will be the first time that a global health conference in Africa focuses on climate change as a key determinant of health. We know that climate change and health are intrinsically intertwined, yet they have for decades now been treated as two separate issues,” said Dr Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa. “At AHAIC 2023, we will be exploring themes at the nexus of climate change and health including a rapidly warming planet, pandemic preparedness, food security and nutrition, innovation, research and development, gender, and conflict.”
AHAIC 2023 comes against the backdrop of renewed calls by African leaders for more urgent action against climate change as its impacts continue to be acutely felt on the continent. At the heart of the conference will be sessions curated to find sustainable and inclusive solutions to Africa’s most pressing climate change and health challenges.
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“African nations remain particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We are already feeling the effects of deteriorating global health through extreme weather events and food insecurity, limited access to clean water, and frequent epidemics. Yet these issues remain on the periphery of climate conversations despite the existence of scientific evidence that climate change threatens our well-being,” said Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health, Rwanda.
As the world inches closer to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (https://bit.ly/40zcTEI) deadline, African leaders at the conference will be urging the global community to renew its commitments to end poverty and improve health and wellbeing while at the same time protecting the planet.
With a youthful population of 1.2 billion people likely to bear the brunt of climate change, participants at the conference will also be advocating for more resources to be allocated to resolving the global health and climate crises as the world slowly emerges from the three-year grip of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While we remain cautiously optimistic about the world’s ability to prevent and withstand the next global pandemic, we must also be cognisant that we cannot survive what we do not prepare for. It is, therefore, imperative that we come together to find solutions to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges while we still have the opportunity. Together with Member States and partners such as Amref, the Africa CDC will continue to implement the New Public Health Order to drive Africa’s health security,” said Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director General, Africa CDC.
AHAIC 2023 aims to shape a joint African position on climate and health ahead of critical conversations that will take place at the World Health Assembly (http://bit.ly/3li1xF6), the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78) (https://bit.ly/3HyMrlO), and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) (https://bit.ly/3XdM6eh) later in the year.
The conference will kick off with the AHAIC 2023 Wogging event on 5th March to coincide with the Kigali Car Free Day, which takes place every first and third Sunday of the month as part of efforts to make Kigali a green city and to fight non-communicable diseases (NCDs). This will be followed by three days of plenaries, high level meetings, workshops and networking sessions that will take place from 6th to 8th March.