File photo taken in 2008 shows an AIDS patient in front of his home in a village in the suburbs of Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. (Xinhua/Li Nu'er)
KIGALI, June 27 (Xinhua) -- World Health Organization (WHO)'s first Africa health forum on Tuesday kicked off here to explore Africa's health care priorities and challenges and find new ways to achieve better health for all.
The two-day forum, hosted by WHO's Regional Office for Africa (WHO AFRO), is organized under the theme of "Putting People First: The Road to Universal Health Coverage in Africa."
The event will provide a platform to forge new partnerships for delivering universal health coverage and a mechanism for improving access to quality, affordable healthcare for all.
"This inaugural meeting is an important step in our progress on forging new partnerships, aligning priorities and galvanizing commitment, from national political leaders to civil society, to advancing the health agenda in Africa, and attaining the SDGs," WHO's regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said at the opening ceremony.
She also mentioned challenges that Africa is facing in health. Although HIV infections and deaths dropped between 2004 and 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa is still the most affected region in the world, particularly among young women, she said. Africa has 16 of the top 30 countries in the world with the highest tuberculosis burden, according to her.
The continent also has the world's highest hypertension rate, the highest road traffic fatality rate, and the highest pedestrian death rate, said the director.
A series of programs related to health financing, digital health, global health security, health research and universal health coverage, will be held during the forum.