It was revealed during a webinar that South Africa lacks a budget for pandemic preparedness.
- South Africa does not have a budget for pandemics, it was featured in a pandemic preparedness webinar.
- The Head of the African Union Commission Secretariat on Covid-19 said this was a matter of concern.
- South African Medical Research Council President and CEO, Professor Glenda Gray, says non-communicable diseases kill more than 41 million people annually.
Just months after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic over, it was revealed that South Africa had no budget for pandemics.
The information was revealed during Friday’s Pillar 10: Epidemic Preparedness Plan webinar, which was hosted by the Presidency in partnership with South Africa’s Ministry of Health and WHO.
During the discussion on considerations of future epidemics, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Secretariat on Covid-19, Dr Lwazi Manzi, said he was concerned that South Africa did not have separate funds for epidemic prevention, preparedness and response (PPR).
She said the situation could be problematic in the event of another pandemic in the future.
In May, the World Health Organization declared the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In South Africa, the first loss of life associated with the pandemic occurred in March 2020. In that month, a nationwide lockdown was imposed as experts and government officials tried to get around the disease and how to limit its spread.
The lockdown, at various levels of severity, lasted for about two years.
But the economic losses were huge.
In 2019, he was fired by President Cyril Ramaphosa Presidential health agreementwhich presented a five-year roadmap for health systems to advance reforms under the ‘Ten Pillars’ towards accelerating Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in South Africa.
The pillars are:
- access to medicines, vaccines, and health products;
- private sector participation;
- High quality healthcare
- public sector financial management improvements;
- governance and leadership;
- community engagements; And
- Information systems and pandemic preparedness.
These pillars were under discussion during the webinar on Friday.
One of the speakers, South African Medical Research Council Chair and Executive Director, Professor Glenda Gray, said that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 41 million people annually. She said 80% of deaths from non-communicable diseases were the result of four diseases: type 2 diabetes, cancer, respiratory infections, and cardiovascular disease.
By 2030, deaths from non-communicable diseases in Africa are expected to exceed deaths from infectious diseases, maternal, perinatal and nutritional diseases combined.
Gray said that 10 million people contract tuberculosis annually.
Although it is preventable and curable, 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis annually, making it the world’s largest infectious killer.
Gray added that tuberculosis was the leading cause of death for people living with HIV and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.
She added that there is a need to invest in science.
Salim Abdul Karim (photo: from the source)
She said: “There is an urgent need to know who is born and who is dying, where and at what age. The footprint of the National Health Laboratory Service must also be preserved.”
Professor Salem Abdel Karim, Special Adviser to the WHO Director-General on Epidemiology, said there was a need for decisive political leadership to be open to scientific advice.
“There needs to be a pandemic preparedness plan for epidemiological surveillance and intelligence. It is also important to consider medical countermeasures, especially diagnostics, vaccines, treatments, and respirators. There is a need for a fit-for-purpose legal and financing framework with legal provisions for testing, quarantine, surveillance, disinformation control, and surveillance.” Borders, vaccination and financial control to reduce corruption.
Dr Owen Kalua, WHO Country Representative, said WHO has put in place a new regulatory framework to guide the country’s pandemic preparedness planning for respiratory pathogens.
The PRET (Preparedness and Resilience to Emerging Threats) framework outlines modalities for a whole-of-society approach, providing tools and resources to support country planning and preparedness.
He said WHO has supported management and stakeholders in implementing the integrated disease surveillance response.
Kalua added that WHO will continue to provide technical support for other UHC priorities, including national health insurance, that are critical to the health system.
The committee said there is a need to build mechanisms and cooperation agreements between the public and private sectors.
“There is a need to strengthen the processes of international health regulation in South Africa, inform work done with the wider group, build institutional capacity for surveillance, and improve laboratory and genome-specific capabilities at the periphery level in all districts. Laboratory testing is also essential to detect novel variants through sampling. and testing and transportation of samples in a timely and efficient manner.”