Repositioning Healthcare in Africa for Sustainable Development
In 2015, the global community transitioned form the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030. In the era of MDGs, Africa witnessed development in different spheres, albeit unevenly distributed and at a slow pace. Today, our continent is still faced with significant economic, social and environmental challenges which we must continue to take proactive steps to tackle.
The SDGs include 17 Global Goals, all interwoven and integrated, with the SDG 3 directly related to health. Healthcare is central to the overall development of a region, hence, we must reposition healthcare in Africa if we are to achieve sustainable development. We believe that to achieve this healthcare goal, Africa must take a leading role, revolutionizing its healthcare systems to improve health indices across the continent which are, at present, abysmal.
The FAMSA General Assembly and Scientific Conference will bring together young vibrant minds as well as professionals and relevant stakeholders in both the public and private sectors from across Africa and beyond to discuss ideas and initiate steps to position Africa on the path to sustainable development in health and by extension in every other sphere of human development. The conference will feature keynote addresses, plenary sessions, workshops, trainings, hackathon sessions, and scientific presentations on carefully selected subthemes all related and contributory to our goal of repositioning healthcare in Africa for Sustainable Development.
The African Medical Student has a strategic role to play in driving sustainable development in the continent with regards to health and even beyond. Every participant in this conference will be better enlightened and empowered to become change agents in their respective communities.
Achieving sustainable development may continue to be a mirage if we pay little or no attention to the grooming of future healthcare professionals. At the conference, we want to stimulate enduring and solution-oriented discussions on the quality of the medical training curriculum, the need to improve research exposure and the level of mentorship and interactions between faculty and students in our institutions.
Giving birth remains risky in Africa with maternal mortality ratio still as high as 546 per 100,000 live births compared to the global target of less than 70 per 100,000 by 2030. In fact, an African woman is 23 times more at risk of dying from a maternal cause compared to a woman in the developed world and, despite significant improvement, 154 out of every 1000 children born in our continent still do not live up to their 5th birthday (2017 Africa Sustainable Development Report). The disconnect is immediately obvious when we consider the availability of skilled birth attendants, family planning practices, access to quality healthcare, good nutrition and female empowerment status in the region. Much still needs to be done and this conference will make an impactful contribution in this regard.
Africa is projected to experience the largest increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) related mortality globally and it is estimated that about 46% of all mortality in Africa will be attributed to NCDs by 2030 (WHO 2009). Yet, our health systems are battling with communicable and re-emerging diseases leaving us with a triple burden of disease. We must be proactive and strategically position our continent to overcome this scourge. This conference will inspire and build capacity of participants to take giant strides in this regard.
A lot has been done in overcoming the scourge of infectious diseases in Africa and there have been records of successes. We, however, still have huge unmet gaps in reaching global and regional targets. We must also rise to the burgeoning challenges like antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the need for newer drugs and dwindling funding while we improve on what has been done so far. At the conference, our goal is to stimulate actions that will aid us in winning the battle against infectious diseases in Africa.
The global community has made remarkable success in eradicating many diseases through vaccination. However, Africa still grapples with significant barriers ranging from funding to sociocultural obstacles. For instance, as of today most African countries still rely on external funding to provide their current levels of vaccination coverage. This begs the question of sustainability. At FAMSA GA 2018, we aim to identify these challenges and chart a course for a sustainable future for vaccination to save the African child.
Africa bears a heavy burden of outbreaks and disasters claiming lots of lives and rendering several others helpless and hopeless. We still deal with outbreaks of cholera, viral hemorrhagic fevers and several conflicts and natural disasters. We must revise our approach to combating these challenges, repositioning ourselves from a reactive point to an anticipatory and proactive one. We must get it right!
Silently, mental illnesses are becoming an epidemic in Africa particularly at a time when not much is being said and even far little done about mental health in the region. Only a meagre percentage of the paltry health funding in most African countries goes to mental health. How can we raise awareness? How do we begin to break the silence on this issue in our various countries? How can we tackle the challenges in mental health?
The need to develop strategic policies to reform the healthcare sectors in our countries cannot be overemphasized. We also realize the need to develop strong health financing platforms if we must achieve Universal Health Coverage. The future of Africa largely depends on this and our conference will through extensive deliberations and recommendations contribute to saving our common future.
Several social factors shape an individual’s opportunity to access quality healthcare. There is ample evidence that characteristics like employment, occupation, education and income influence health outcomes. This is reflected in the link between low socioeconomic status and several diseases. At this conference, we will stimulate discussions on ways of reducing the inequalities in accessing healthcare in Africa.
Our conference is a 5-day event comprised of Plenary and parallel sessions,
Workshops, Abstract presentations, Hackathons, Medical outreach, Training sessions, Exhibitions, Expert meeting, Cultural night, Trade fair, Sport friendlies,
and City tours.
FAMSA GA 2018 will bring over 30 high-profile speakers from all over the African continent and the world at large. Speakers will represent: Industry Experts, Top Policymakers, Academicians, Researchers, Non-Governmental Organizations, Philanthropic Foundations, Consultants, African Leaders, Youth Organizations, Regional and Global Health Players.
The Organizing Committee consists majorly of members of the University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association and International Campus Ambassadors (ICAs) from various countries all over the world with support from our Board of Advisors, composed of prominent faculty of the University of Ibadan alongside an international representative, and the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Host and Venue of FAMSA GA 2018:
The University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association (UIMSA) will host the FAMSA GA 2018. UIMSA is the largest medical students’ association in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1,200 members and it is a founding member of the Federation of African Medical Students’ Associations. The association has hosted several other symposiums and lectures relating to healthcare in Nigeria and Africa, which strategically places it in the perfect position to organize a high-impact conference for our delegates. The venue of the conference is proposed to be the International Conference Centre (ICC). It is a top venue for conferences and has played host to many high level meetings in the city of Ibadan.
Federation of African Medical Students' Association
Once upon a time, there arose the need of a platform for African medical students to play a significant role in the improvement of the health of Africans, and to foster cooperation among medical students within Africa. Three countries arose to the task (Nigeria, Uganda and Ghana) and there was a coalition…
University of Ibadan Medical Students' Association
The University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association (UIMSA), established in 1960 is the representative body for all medical students in the prestigious College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. The annual numerical strength of the Association is over a thousand Students from 100 level to 600 level from different religious, cultural and ethnic background, from every geopolitical region of Nigeria.