Team Europe Delegation Visits Addis to Bolster Africa-EU Health Partnership

Addis Ababa: A high-level delegation from the European Union (EU), including Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, is visiting Addis Ababa from February 5 to 7, 2024, to strengthen the Africa-Europe health partnership. The mission, organized by the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the EU Delegation to the African Union, symbolizes the ambition of the Belgian Presidency of the EU and the European Commission to strengthen the partnership between Africa and the EU. The mission has followed up on the EU-AU summit of 2022 and identified building blocks for stronger health partnership between Africa and Europe, implementing the EU's new Global Health Strategy. Today, Belgian Minister for Development Cooperation, Caroline Gennez and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides are visiting Ethiopia and the African Union, together with high-ranking representatives from Croatia, the Cz ech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the European Commission. The mission included high-level meetings on health and humanitarian aid at the African Union Commission and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Building on the Africa-EU partnership on Global Health, it will kick-off the Belgian Presidency's ambition to accelerate equal access to health, the foundation of societal well-being. Currently, less than half of Africa's citizens - some 615 million people - have access to the healthcare they need. Only 3 percent of pharmaceuticals is produced on the African continent, despite the fact that it bears 24 percent of the global disease burden and accounts for 11 percent of the world's population. The EU offers added value as a partner in health, based on its expertise and experience. EU and Member States institutions and agencies are already working closely with African counterparts on a wide range of health topics. These collaborations will be c odified further during this mission and at the AU-EU dialogue in March 2024 in Brussels. Together, the EU and Africa are working to deliver better health for millions of citizens, to better prevent and tackle health threats, and to shape the global health agenda in areas like the pandemic agreement. The right to health was one of the main takeaways from the 6th EU-AU Summit held in Brussels two years ago. This mission to Ethiopia and to the African Union offers an opportunity to consolidate the Africa-EU Global Health Partnership, particularly in context of the New Public Health Order for Africa, and the EU Global Gateway strategy and the 'Team Europe Initiatives' delivering on it. The AU-EU humanitarian dialogue will explore ways in which the EU and AU can further work together on humanitarian policy and action. In particular, the AU and the EU will discuss the establishment of the African Humanitarian Agency, health crises in humanitarian contexts, challenges facing International Humanitarian Law, acce ss and protection, as well as forgotten crises on the African continent. These priorities will also be at the top of the agenda of the European Humanitarian Forum on 18-19 March 2024 in Brussels. Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation, Caroline Gennez said the collaboration will improve health outcomes for countless people, in Africa and Europe, focusing on building affordable, available and high-quality healthcare systems in African countries. The minister stressed the need to strengthen partnership between the EU and Africa noting that health is a policy area in which close cooperation and the exchange of knowledge provides benefits for everyone. "We can only be healthy here in Europe if Africa is also healthy. African countries have extensive experience in the containment of epidemics; European countries have some of the best and most accessible healthcare in the world. Our collaboration on this front will improve health outcomes for countless people, in Africa and Europe." Our focus will be on bu ilding affordable, available and high-quality healthcare systems in African countries, the minister said. "We also reconfirm our commitment to support African governments, companies and scientists in the production of high-quality medicines and vaccines.' AU Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Minata SAMATE CESSOUMA stated that the two parties have reached consensus to strengthen their scope of cooperation in health and humanitarian issues. Production of vaccines and enhancing the capacity of vaccine producers were among the discussion items, she pointed out. European Commissioner for Heath and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides on her part said the partnership is already enhancing equity in medical countermeasures and boosting the capacity of our African partners to prevent and prepare for health threats, building on the solidarity that emerged through the pandemic. Today as an example of our commitment we are signing two agreements between the EU health emergency and Africa n CDC for a total amount of 6 million euros to scale up the health services in the continent. This mission signifies a renewed commitment from the EU to collaborate with African partners in achieving better health outcomes for all. By working together, they aim to address critical health challenges, strengthen health security, and build a more equitable future for both continents Source: Ethiopian News Agency