TWENTIETH ORDINARY MEETING OF THE ASSEMBLY OF HEALTH MINISTERS OF ECOWAS
The 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was held on May 3, 2019 at the Golden Tulip Le Diplomate Hotel in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
In attendance were all the 15 ECOWAS’ Member States Ministers and Heads of delegations.
As a prelude to the opening of the meeting, a special plenary session was devoted to malaria.
The Ministers listened to a presentation made by the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Jakaya M. Kikwete, Guest of honour at the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers of ECOWAS, speaking as a member of the “End Malaria Initiative Council” on the theme “Malaria Control in Africa”.
The official opening ceremony of the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers of the ECOWAS was chaired by H.E. Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, Minister of State, in charge of Planning and Development, representing the President of the Republic of Benin, H.E. Patrice Athanase Talon.
In attendance at the ceremony were the Ministers of Health of ECOWAS Member States or their Representatives, Representatives of the UN System, the Special Representative of the President of the ECOWAS Commission in Burkina Faso, representatives of the ECOWAS National Offices of Burkina Faso, Benin, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria, WAHO Director General, Development Partners, Health Experts from the 15 ECOWAS Member States, WAHO Liaison Officers and Staff members.
The following dignitaries successively delivered addresses at the opening ceremony:
- Director General of WAHO, Prof Stanley Okolo
- WHO Resident Representative in Burkina Faso, Dr. Alimata Jeanne DIARRA NAMA representing the Regional Director of WHO-AFRO, Dr. Moeti
- Permanent Secretary representing the Federal Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Abdullahi Abdulaziz,
- Minister of Health of Benin, Prof. Benjamin Hounkpatin
- Former President of the Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Jakaya M. Kikwete
- Minister of State, in charge of Planning and Development, representing the President of the Republic of Benin H.E. Patrice Athanase Talon.
The deliberations of the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers were held under the co-chairmanship of the Minister of Health of Benin and the Permanent Secretary representing the Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Ministers thanked the WAHO Director General and his team for all the work accomplished and for the convincing results obtained in many fields; after which the WAHO 2018 Annual Report was adopted.
The Assembly of Health Ministers adopted the following resolutions:
- Community guidelines on "Regulation of the Transfer of Biological Products in the ECOWAS Region";
- inclusion in the National Development Plan, of a strategy to move from control to pre-elimination of malaria in the National Development Plan
- establishment of the ECOWAS Regional Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (ECOMA)
- designation of countries to sit on the Board of Directors of the Regional Centre for Disease Control (ECOWAS-RCDC)
- Regional Strategic Plan on the Health of the Elderly persons in the ECOWAS region (2020-2024)
- Regional Plan for Preparedness and Response to Health Emergencies.
The Assembly of Ministers expressed its gratitude to the technical and financial partners for their precious and constant presence alongside WAHO with a view to working together to improve the health of the ECOWAS citizens; the ministers urged them to support the implementation of adopted resolutions and continue their support to the countries and WAHO.
The Ministers later held a closed door meeting to discuss health and institutional issues in the region.
The next Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Health Ministers of the ECOWAS will be held in first quarter of the year 2020 and the venue will be communicated.