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UB makes a mark in advancing World Health Organisation ideals

UB makes a mark in advancing World Health Organisation ideals

Dated : 05.10.2017


The University of Botswana can rest assured that it has done comparatively well towards transforming Africa’s health. This is galvanized by the long standing collaboration, spanning almost 27 years, between the University and World Health Organisation (WHO) through the School of Nursing which was first designated a WHO Collaborating Centre in 1990.
The re-designation which has been done every four years resonates well with WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshediso Moeti’s call that universities played a critical role in transforming Africa’s health.
 
Dr Moeti was speaking at a public lecture at the UB Conference Centre on October 4, 2017 on the theme Transforming Africa’s Health: Leaving no one behind. She said Africa’s progress in attaining health development had been comparatively slow.
 
Some of the numerous and wide-ranging health challenges that Dr Moeti highlighted as a setback included the high burden of communicable diseases, poor maternal and child health indicators, emerging burden of non-communicable diseases, climate change, environmental degradation.
 
The situation, she said, was compounded by weak, underperforming and inequitable health systems. The grim picture she painted was that 12 out of the 20 countries classified as fragile were in Africa. Dr Moeti also decried the low domestic investment in health in that some countries were not able to meet the $271 per capita expenditure besides weak governance and lack of accountability to end users of health systems.
 
As such, Dr Moeti underscored the role universities could play in transforming Africa’s health, such as training and building country capacity in health systems research. Universities need to also conduct research for evidence, health systems performance and monitoring of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Moeti also emphasized that universities could further conduct research on health financing alternatives. To transform Africa’s health and in line with Dr Moeti’s presentation, UB Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Kgomotso Moahi, said given its designation as a WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC), the UB School of Nursing formed part of an international collaborative network that carried out assigned activities in support of WHO at all levels of society.
 
Professor Moahi said WHO selected departments or schools of universities and research institutions that were economically viable and offered excellent academic programmes, hence the re-designation of the UB School of Nursing every four years with specific terms of reference.
 
“WHOCC is an extension of WHO,” said Professor Moahi. She said the public lecture came at a critical time given that the intension was to consolidate the partnership to make WHOCC visible and provide the opportunity to engage with the community in terms of embarking on transformative health development regionally and the sub-Saharan Africa. 
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