The symposium, under the theme, “Driving the Health Agenda for a Sustainable Future in Low and Middle-income Countries,” brought together education, research and health care leaders across the East Africa region who sat to provide a clear understanding of the nature of academic health systems and their importance in advancing and accelerating healthcare improvements.
The forum which was organised by the Aga Khan University Medical College, East Africa and the Association of Academic Health Centres International was aimed at exploring opportunities to utilise the collaborative strengths of academics, health care providers and policy makers in supporting national health goals for the attainment of the (SDGs) in low and middle income countries.
In his remarks, the chief medical officer Prof Mohammed Bakari offered academic institutions access to the health databases to increase collaboration and partnership between governments and higher learning institutions for a more evidence based approach toward research and learning.
“It is vital to expand the existing relationships between the Ministries of Health and the academic institutions in towards evidence based strategic planning and programming of health related initiatives in the region,” said Prof Bakari.
In his remarks ,Prof. Robert Armstrong, Dean, Medical College for East Africa, Aga Khan University, challenged universities working in tertiary care facilities within which they train to take a central place in providing necessary leadership in facing the challenge of reversing the vicious cycle of adversity and ill-health.
“While commendable progress was witnessed under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) period, a lot remains to be done for the achievement of the SDGs. Health care providers in low and middle income countries are expected to provide necessary data and affordable solutions to address health challenges through research and capacity building,” said Prof. Armstrong.
The Symposium also addressed possible solutions by providing strategic avenues for development of critical discourse in the current global health agenda and ways in which the systems in East Africa could utilize these models to accelerate health system improvement.
“The symposium also focused on identifying existing national health systems models in East Africa, highlighted successful models internationally and explored strategies for improving the collaborative environment within the East African community,” said Prof William Macharia, Associate Dean of Research, Aga Khan University.