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African Youth Unite at CPHIA 2023 to Advocate for Leadership in Health and Safety

The second Africa CDC Youth Pre-Conference began on 25 November 2023 in preparation for Africa’s largest public health conference, CPHIA 2023, in Lusaka, Zambia. The event was organized by Africa CDC, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, GIZ, and Unicef, and brought together over 250 African youth from 51 African countries and the diaspora.

The Director General of Africa CDC, His Excellency Dr Jean Kaseya, urged young people to take a leading role in guiding a safer and healthier Africa and emphasized the importance of their involvement in this task.

Her Excellency Monica Geingos, the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, inspired the participants with her words, highlighting the significance of Public Health to African youth and its broader impact on the continent’s development and prosperity.

Dr Chrys Promesse Kaniki, a Senior Technical Officer at Africa CDC and leader of the YPC Conveners, emphasized the importance of young people in bringing fresh and innovative ideas to benefit the continent’s citizens, and highlighted the role of the Youth Pre-Conference as a platform to engage, share information, and empower young people to make significant contributions.

Over the two days, the conference included panel discussions, breakout sessions, and small working group discussions, covering topics such as reproductive health & rights of adolescents, local medical manufacturing in Africa, and youth in digital health.

The Mastercard Foundation and Africa CDC co-created a panel discussion addressing “Youth Workforce Development for a Resilient Ecosystem” to find solutions for the loss of skilled health workforce in the continent, due to migration and challenging working conditions.

Dr. Shakira Choonara emphasized the transformative power of young people and their potential to shift outdated systems, and highlighted the importance of involving youth in key conversations and decision-making.

Technology and innovation were identified as key enablers in health, and the need for progressive policies to make working in Africa attractive for the health workforce was emphasized by Barbara Ngouyombo, Associate Director Partnerships, Institut Pasteur de Dakar.

In closing the conference, Dr Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, the Deputy Director-General at Africa CDC, reminded the participants of their central role in finding innovative solutions to Africa’s health challenges and emphasized that they are not an afterthought in the development of long-lasting solutions.


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