Medical Student Invited to WHO’s 72nd African Regional Meeting
Mr Mohamed Hoosen Suleman, a fourth-year Medical student at UKZN, has become a regular face within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ranks. After attending their international meeting in Geneva earlier this year, Suleman was selected to attend the WHO’s African (WHO-Afro) Regional Meeting in Lomé, Togo (West Africa).
Suleman formed part of the official youth delegation to the WHO, alongside two other Medical students, one from Cameroon and a second from The Gambia. Their tasks entailed, amongst others, giving input to health policies on the African continent. This included outlining priority health issues that require increased WHO support.
The youth submitted statements on Mental Health; Human Resources for Health; Universal Health Coverage; Health Insecurities; and Environmental Determinants of Health to the meeting. Suleman was tasked with drafting the statements on Mental Health and Human Resources for Health.
Suleman, who is counted amongst the Top 200 Young South Africans, says the statements were well received and have been accepted for discussion and implementation.
‘I am glad to have been afforded the opportunity to make some small contribution to health policy and decision-making for WHO member states. There is a trend by the WHO to invite young professionals to contribute to the dialogue on how to advance the United Nations’ 2030 agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is unfortunate that I was unable to physically attend the meeting, but it was an honour and privilege to be called upon to contribute,’ he said.
The WHO Regional Committee for Africa is the organisation’s decision-making body on health policy in the African region. It comprises of Ministers of Health or their representatives from each of the region’s 47-member states. The main functions of the Regional Committee include formulating regional policies and supervising the regional office as set out in Article 50 of the WHO Constitution.
‘There is a need to scale up efforts towards universal health coverage and it is reassuring that African member states are united on this front. I am also pleased that each of the four WHO pillars continues to find expression within African governments’ decisions,’ said Suleman.
Words: MaryAnn Francis