In recent years, there has been an increasing call for African countries to prioritise gender equality and empower women.
This urgent need stems from the understanding that gender equality is not only a basic human right, but also an essential factor in promoting economic growth, social development, and overall stability in the continent.
A leading Non-Profit Organisation, the Institute for Global Health and Development, has highlighted the crucial role that gender equality plays in enabling women to compete on an equal platform as their male counterparts. The organisation emphasises that creating an environment where women can thrive is not only beneficial for women themselves but also for the countries they reside in. Studies have indicated that a higher level of gender equality is closely linked to improved economic performance, including a higher Gross Domestic Product.
One of the key areas that require immediate attention is women’s health. Magda Robalo, the President and Co-Founder of IGHD, has stressed the importance of prioritising women’s health as a means of improving their productivity. Addressing issues such as maternal mortality among women is not only a matter of human rights but also a way to ensure that women can fully participate in the workforce and contribute to the economy. When women are healthy, they can work, raise their families, and live productive lives. Consequently, the overall well-being and prosperity of a country are enhanced.
Investing in women’s health is not just an investment in women themselves but also in various sectors of the economy. Robalo argues that by making gender equality work, particularly for women, economies can reap numerous benefits. It is a fact that healthy women are more likely to contribute significantly to the economy, both in terms of their professional capabilities and by raising future generations who are healthy and capable of driving the country forward.
Maternal and child mortality must be addressed with urgency, according to a healthcare professional. While progress has been made in reducing these rates across the African continent, there are still countries experiencing an alarming rise in child mortality.
The focus on improving women’s health and achieving gender equality remains critical. These issues will be further discussed at the upcoming Africa Centre for Disease Control’s annual International Conference on Public Health in Africa taking place from November 27 to 30 in Lusaka, Zambia.
Dr. Robalo emphasised the importance of inclusiveness and encouraged full participation in this year’s conference, which is organised by the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Union in partnership with Zambia Ministry of Health. The theme will revolve around breaking barriers and transforming traditional approaches through innovative science and programming.
Additional topics of discussion will include Epidemiology, Diagnostics, Clinical Management of Emerging and Re-emerging High Consequence Infectious Diseases in Africa, as well as promoting advocacy, research, and development capacity for local production of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines within Africa.