UK-Africa Health Summit 2024 kicks off, leaders deliberate on partnerships

Uganda's Permanent Secretary for the Health Ministry, Dr. Diana Atwine speaking at the UK-Africa Health Summit 2024 in London, UK on Monday, March 18, 2024

London, (UK):- The UK-Africa Health Summit 2024 kicked off Monday, March 18 in London, United Kingdom, with leaders and keynote speakers deliberating on partnerships, among other key topics.

During the opening plenary on Monday afternoon, The leadership of Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) and high-level government representatives explored ways to collaboratively accelerate Universal Health Coverage, with a focus on tackling health workforce mobility & sustainability. 

In her remarks, Uganda’s Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr Diana Atwine, emphasised the need for knowledge exchange, especially in research and innovation, among other issues.

“Picture a diplomat falling ill with a complex condition while on duty in Africa. With a better healthcare system in place, his life could be saved. Now, consider the same diplomat contracting malaria during a work trip in Africa, only for symptoms to manifest upon their return to the UK. How many hospitals here are equipped to handle complicated Malaria? It would be a rare case. It underscores the importance of continual sharing and learning from one another,” Dr Atwine remarked.

The Health Ministry boss added that research and training play a crucial role in addressing emerging global challenges, like antimicrobial resistance, evolving viruses, and climate change.

“Collaboration is essential for developing new drugs and alternative therapies to counter these challenges effectively.”

Tanzania’s High Commissioner to the UK, H.E. Mbelwa Kairuki,  said; “COVID-19 has taught us that preparedness and response depend on a strong health workforce.”

Director of Global Engagement at Health Education England, Ged Byrne, highlighted opportunities for global engagement, as a driving force for professional & personal development & NHS retention strategies.

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“Overseas training could improve NHS workforce retention, by participating in programmes to develop and share news skills.”

Chief Executive Officer of THET, Ben Simms, noted that it’s vital to move from competition to collaboration. “We all believe in a world where everyone, everywhere, has access to quality, affordable healthcare, free at the point of use.”

Prof. Gideon Mlawa discussed the work of the Tanzania UK Healthcare Diaspora Association (TUHEDA), stressing collaboration, coordinated efforts and co-development.

The UK Africa Health Summit, a flagship event, will run from March 18-19, 2023, at the Royal College of General Practitioners, London.

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The event is organized by UK-Uganda Health Alliance, led by, Moses Mulimira, NHS Executive Director/THET Trustee, Dr Titilola Banjoko, Co-Founder of Uganda Diaspora Health Foundation, Mariam Aligawesa, among others

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