President Mugabe is today expected to open the 67th session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) regional committee meeting for Africa, which will run until Friday in Victoria Falls. The Head of State and Government and Commander- in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces arrived in the resort town yesterday for the event. He was met at Victoria Falls International Airport by the Minister of State for Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs, Cde Cain Mathema, Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa and other senior Government officials. WHO regional committee for Africa is the organisation’s governing body for Sub-Saharan Africa. It currently has 47 members in the region, but at least 33 health ministers from Africa are expected to attend. The meeting — which convenes ministers of health from the region — is designed to discuss strategies and actions to tackle public health challenges affecting Africa. High on the agenda is the review of the WHO’s work on the continent, assessment of the regional framework for the implementation of the global strategic plan to improve public health preparedness and the evaluation of the regional strategy for neglected tropical diseases. The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidise Moeti, who had a tour of the venue yesterday afternoon, expressed satisfaction with facilities and is upbeat of a successful meeting. The conference will see participants deliberating on how best to consolidate the gains made in the regional health sector in particular the progress in reducing new HIV infections. The meeting will also see delegates crafting strategies to improve countries’ capacity and preparedness to address disease outbreaks, taking into account the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. The WHO Regional Committee for Africa is the Organization’s highest decision-making body on health in the African region. The annual meeting of ministers of health provides a platform to develop strategies and actions to tackle public health challenges on the continent.

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