Dr. Zipporah Kpamor Addresses Africa Health Innovation Meeting

Dr. Zipporah Kpamor Addresses Africa Health Innovation Meeting

 {Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH}Dr. Zipporah Kpamor, MSH’s Nigeria Country Representative, speaking during the African Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH

"Good leadership skills, flexible policies, and constant advocacy will improve health in Africa," said Dr. Zipporah Kpamor during her talk at the Africa Health Innovation meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 7, 2014. As Management Sciences for Health (MSH’s) Nigeria Country Representative and project director for the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-funded US Agency for International Development (USAID) project, Community-Based Support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (CUBS), Zipporah is an expert on the conference’s theme: Leapfrogging development challenges to transform Africa’s health. 

Zipporah offered poignant insight on one of the meeting’s discussion topics: Leadership, policy, and advocacy for health in Africa:

As leaders, we tend to change our health policies based on the type of funding or support made available to us… but we should not allow [funding] to take our eyes off our priorities: health initiatives should be government-led and community owned.

Zipporah also advocated for policy change to improve health conditions and used South Africa as an example of a nation where policies on free HIV treatment and generic manufacture of antiretrovirals have greatly reduced deaths among people in their 30s.

The Honourable Joseph Kigbu, Chairman of the Committee on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, supported Zipporah’s policy message by pleading for synergy among legislative, executive, and judiciary government branches to modify the laws that often impede effective health policy design and implementation.

In addition to advocating for effective health policy, she discussed how MSH has effectively built the leadership and management capacity of health professionals and contributed to improved quality and access to health services in over 40 nations through its Leadership Development Program (LDP).

Zipporah explained that MSH believes in strong leadership, effective management, and transparent governance as keys to sustainable health system strengthening and country ownership and implored African countries to train their health professionals in these skills.

[Photo caption 2: Panelists discussing leadership, policy, and advocacy for health in Africa.] {Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH}Photo caption 2: Panelists discussing leadership, policy, and advocacy for health in Africa.Photo credit: Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi/MSH

Hosted by Friends Africa in collaboration with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNITAID, Roll Back Malaria, and Access Bank, the African Health Innovation meeting fosters partnerships between influential African leaders to support health system strengthening, innovative resource mobilization, and improved health outcomes across sub-Saharan Africa. Hundreds of people from local and international donor agencies, implementing partners, government ministries, and the general public attended.

During one plenary session, five panelists, including Zipporah, discussed the question: “What should the future of Africa’s health look like?” The speakers said African leaders and citizens must recognize the benefits of good health and develop and implement strategies to produce these health benefits.

They also said that African governments should ensure that the majority of their citizens are able to access and afford high-quality health services by promoting universal health coverage. Said Dr. Zipporah:

African leaders should be creative in identifying resources to fund health priorities. [Some strategies may include] using health insurance to achieve universal health coverage and developing infrastructure for medical tourism.

Zipporah implored her colleagues to use their new partnerships to influence change, improve health policy, and explore strategies that strengthen the health system by rewarding efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, and value for money.