More than 200 delegates and speakers attended the IV Corporate Africa National Business Association Partnerships for Prevention & Care Africa Health Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during February 7th to 9th February 2011. The event was hosted under the patronage of the Ministry of Health, Ethiopia, and the opening address was delivered by Dr Kebede Worku, Minister of State with special responsibility for health and Medicare. The event was well served by the national press, including radio and television, who broadcasted the conference across the whole country.
The program for the fourth Corporate Africa National Business Coalition Partnerships for Prevention and Care Africa Health Conference consisted of plenary sessions, sponsor’s workshop, and panel discussions. The chairman from the previous conference, Dr Andrew Suleh, President of Medical Association, Kenya was also in attendance. As well as briefing the audience about developments at the last conference, he passed the baton over to the current chairperson the President of the Ethiopian Medical Association, Dr Fuad Temam. The event hosted high level delegates from businesses and governments resulting in interactive discussions about all areas of Ethiopian health and Medicare. A total of 30 speakers, 2 chairpersons and delegates from 9 countries formed the core of the conference and thematic workshop. In total there were 198 delegates. The program is at: www.corporateafricahealthfoundation.org and the list of delegates, sponsors and visitors are included in this report.
The conference agenda was established after a series of visits and processes involving meetings with representatives from both public and private sectors including health ministries and developmental agencies for health in Ethiopia, including the National Business Coalition, public Health Ministry, national hospitals, national press media and the local agency organizing the conference in country.
The Organizers carried out investigations into current issues influencing health and Medicare in Ethiopia and devised profiles of appropriate speakers to fit the national agenda and deliver presentation and opinions that would add value to the meetings and increase the understanding of sponsors and delegates in attendance about the local environment. This was accomplished with the advice of the local conference organizer Shebelle Ethiopia Conference Services, and the organizer’s own research.
The conference program, created by the Organizing Committee included plenary sessions which focused upon prevalent issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. There were also two panel discussions and an area where sponsors could position their booths and banners.
The conference commenced with a presentation from Kellie Whitlock, Event Manager introducing Corporate Africa and outlining the event’s objectives, thanking delegates and speakers for attending and introducing Dr Andrew Suleh, President of the Kenyan Medical Association, and chair person of the previous conference in Kenya. Dr. Kebede, the Minister of State speech was well received. It amply outlined the meager capacity currently existing in Ethiopia for health, especially pertaining to TB, and Medicare due to a lack of sustainable investments and the absence of funding and support from the private sector. Despite this, the Minister stated that Ethiopia was nevertheless making progress in the health sector and scaling up national resources with a five year plan to improve capacity and strengthen supplier chains to the industry, in pursuit of the MDGs and to meet and satisfy demand from all citizens. The Minister also expressed the areas they required support for with regard to private public partnerships, which were: The Global Fund, private sector, capacity building and support, engagement and co-partners, Ethiopian health partnerships, and sustainable development. He concluded by stating that they were counting on the 4th Corporate Africa Business Coalition Partnerships for Prevention and Care Africa Health Conference to help create partnerships to improve healthcare in Ethiopia.
The key sponsor’s workshop BD, was held on the first day of the meeting in the afternoon. Mr. Burt Houtz, Program Director for BD/PEPFAR Laboratory announced that BD wanted to form a partnership with the Ethiopian Health ministry and outlined BD’s scientific capabilities and work with governments and national health services in developing countries.
A cocktail reception was held inside the Africa Hall, which was enjoyed by most of the delegates attending the event. Further discussion of the conference went on there in a light-hearted manner and continued until 7:30 pm. The general feedback was that the conference was very successful and an occasion likely to benefit organizations and health supplier chains in Ethiopia. There were also enquiries about the place of the next conference which was instigated by the organizers, who suggested prior to the event that Senegal was a favored destination. The conference achieved its goal, especially the provision of a platform upon which international investors and delegates could engage in interactions to exchange experiences, sciences, and technologies and to bring to light potential opportunities for collaborations and partnerships.
Following the conference, the key sponsor BD together with representatives from Corporate Africa engaged the Minister for Health Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, State Minister of Health, Dr Kebede Worku, and executive directors from his department about potential areas of cooperation between the Ministry and their respective organizations. The Minister exuded enterprise and possessed much ambition for healthcare in Ethiopia. The Organizers are confident that further engagements are likely to emerge from this meeting in Ethiopia.
Cognizant to the huge burden of TB in Ethiopia and recognizing the paramount importance of quality of data, a motion has been suggested to establish state of the art surveillance system for Tuberculosis drug resistance at the governmental institute called Armauer Hansen Research Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This motion initiated by the key sponsor, BD has been supported unanimously by the representatives of the ministry of health of Ethiopia . The implementation of this motion is believed to be extremely important to influence health partners, parliamentarians, developmental agencies, and other conferences in Africa and the rest of the world.
The conference ended with an understanding of the key sponsor and other delegates to hold the next Corporate Africa Partnerships for Prevention & Care Africa Health Conference at Dakar, Senegal. The Organizers were also engaged by Consultant Therese Lethu, former Director of Global Business Coalition on HIV AIDS, TB, and Malaria, about prospective collaborations in devising programs that could exploit mobile telephony technology to reduce the threat and prevention of HIV AIDS and other infectious diseases and developing countries to empower those most at risk such as women and children. Ms. Lethu had earlier chaired a panel discussion about the use of mobile telephony in the prevention of infectious diseases.