Building and achieving the Africa we want: Reflections from the just ended 2nd Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), 2022

30 Dec 2022 / Article

Building and achieving the Africa we want: Reflections from the just ended 2nd Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), 2022.

The 2nd international conference on public health (CPHIA) was recently held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 13th -15th of December 2022 with official side events that began on 12 December 2022.  On site, registration was available for interested participants who could not register online. What is a public health conference without doing the necessary checks to ensure the safety of all participants against the recent pandemic COVID-19 that has threatened health systems all over the world? The event began with the testing of participants for COVID making sure every participant is apt to attend the conference before they could proceed to the side events of their choice. CPHIA officially began on December 13 at the Kigali conference center. During this opening ceremony, Rwanda was voted headquarters for the African Medicine Agency (AMA), one of the projects put in place by the African Union Commission to achieve the vision of the African Public Health order. The day ended with a networking dinner. Day 2 was characterized by the different side events and sessions which kept participants busy. Being a media partner to the conference, The Pan African Medical Journal (PAMJ) hosted a side event on the theme: Under the hood of scientific publishing – confessions of an African biomedical publisher. The side event highlighted the challenges of biomedical publishing in Africa, both for authors and journals. Why is it so complicated for researchers in Africa to have their publications accepted in high-quality journals? What are the challenges to the emergence of an African biomedical publishing culture? How do we move forward from there?

The conference ended with a closing and award ceremony on the 15 December after the side events and sessions for the day. Hosted by the Africa CDC/African Union in partnership with the Rwanda ministry of health and Rwanda biomedical center, this 1st in-person edition of CPHIA hosted about 2500 participants physically and online with over 90 countries represented from all over the Globe and all 55 states of the African union duly represented. The conference was facilitated through 34 sessions from 9 tracks and side events.

Speaking during a press briefing, one of the panelists, Prof. Agnes Binongwaho, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, Kigali, Rwanda, insisted on the fact that this is a conference for Africans by Africans and the beginning of better conferences to come since sharing of African knowledge will be as from now on done in a coordinated manner. Africa has understood that it has to do research that matters for the continent and not what is of interest to the western world which means we have to own our knowledge.

The African continent has to build its confidence in implementing the vision of the African new public health order. To be able to implement the outcomes of the conference, national public health institutions at the country level should be able to set platforms to receive coordinated support and come up with strategies in which policies can be implemented in the continent. The continent has to subsequently check the progress and look at a way forward from conferences annually. CIPHIA 2022 is also looking forward to helping to put in place indicators that ensure work is done at national and country levels. The African Public Health order is also looking forward to prioritizing non-communicable diseases through implementing activities at the country level.

It should be noted that CPHIA 2022 was meant to serve as a catalyst to build more resilient health systems that will allow Africans to better prepare for and manage emerging health threats, while also addressing long-standing infectious diseases. Africa needs to become a knowledge powerhouse to be able to respond to its own needs. The journey has started and the continent with the help of CPHIA and other stakeholders is looking forward to building Africa’s local capacity to be able to implement all that is agreed on in this conference progressively based on the vision of the African Public Health Order.

Brunhilda Tambe

Community Manager, Assistant Editor (CAMEROON)

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