New South-South Health Cooperation Initiative Launched Linking Africa and the Caribbean

December 27, 2023

The Health Development Partnership for Africa and the Caribbean (HeDPAC), a new initiative to strengthen South-South health cooperation between Africa and the Caribbean, was launched today.

The initiative stems from the recognition that the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic fell most heavily on developing countries, especially on women and children. The pandemic led to the reversal of health gains, including maternal mortality.

HeDPAC will focus on strengthening the health workforce in the two regions, and on sharing innovative solutions in primary health care, with a special emphasis on climate resilience, and maternal and child health.

Promoting technology transfer for pharmaceutical manufacturing, building regulatory capacity, and enhancing universal health coverage will be core HeDPAC strategies.

Dr Haileyesus Getahun will serve as the first CEO of HeDPAC. Dr Getahun has a quarter-century of experience in global health, and currently serves as Director of Global Coordination on Antimicrobial Resistance at WHO.

“COVID-19 exposed weaknesses in our health systems, but we also have the opportunity to address those challenges”, said President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who is a champion of the initiative. “The time to act is now”, he said.

“COVID-19 left an indelible scar on our global solidarity and the right of all people to good health”, said Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados, who is also championing HeDPAC. “It is our shared responsibility to ensure that the inequity of the global response to COVID-19 is not repeated. This is the kind of action that will allow us to help people where they need it most.”

“The establishment of HeDPAC heralds a new global public health order to realize health equity through greater political commitment and action”, said Professor Senait Fisseha, Vice President of the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. “Through this collaboration, vulnerable countries and groups, including women and children, stand to benefit.”

“WHO is pleased to partner with HeDPAC in its efforts to achieve universal health coverage for the people of Africa and the Caribbean”, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “South-South cooperation can play a critical role in catalysing a shared vision for health and the exchange of best practices between nations.”

Dr Getahun said, “There is no better role in global health than to contribute to health equity for the most vulnerable.”

Originally posted by the World Health Organization. To access the original article, please click here.