The government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and development partners have congratulated the World Health Organization on its 75th anniversary, and further committed to the agenda of HEALTH FOR ALL.
Speaking during a high-level event to commemorate World Health Day and WHO’s 75th anniversary in Manzini City on 13 April 2023, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini His Excellency Senator Cleopas Dlamini recollected that the Kingdom signed a basic agreement with the World Health Organization for the provision of technical assistance on the 5th of June 1973. Since then, the Kingdom of Eswatini has walked with WHO, other partners, and all people in ensuring that all emaSwati (people of Eswatini) move to attain the highest level of health.
The colorful function was attended by Ministers of Health and Public Service, the United States of America Ambassador, the British High Commissioner, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and Heads of UN Agencies including UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, and UNESCO. Other guests included: senior government officials, heads of health implementing partners, civil society and religious organizations, the private sector, and the media.
In his keynote address, the PM said the Kingdom of Eswatini is proud of the public health successes that have improved the quality of life during the last seven decades. The PM observed that, through technical support from the World Health Organization and collaboration with other partners, the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini has reduced the burden of communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases.
“Over the years, deaths due to HIV/AIDS have been declining, from over 30% in the past 10 years to only 1.2% in 2022.
“There has been improved Tuberculosis diagnosis and case detection due to the rollout of technologies such as Gene Xpert. This has been coupled with improved TB treatment success rates.”
“Eswatini has managed to reduce the burden on malaria over the years such that the country has received several awards and has been recognised as one of 25 countries worldwide most likely to record zero local malaria cases by the year 2025.”
“Eswatini has also been polio-free for over 30 years now and is on the drive to eliminate neonatal tetanus, measles, and other vaccine-preventable diseases.”
“May I take this opportunity to extend the Government of Eswatini’s gratitude to the World Health Organization for the leadership and support for the COVID-19 pandemic response. I further call upon the government, development partners, and all people of Eswatini to use the opportunity of the WHO’s 75th anniversary to motivate action to tackle the health challenges of today and tomorrow. Let me also reiterate that the Kingdom of Eswatini remains committed to promoting and protecting public health and equity and to ensuring healthy lives of all Emaswati. ” the PM said.
“The government together with WHO and support from other partners, has built a stronger health system that has enabled a reduction in the burden of communicable diseases that were troublesome in the past. Coverage of health services has also increased such that more than 80% of EmaSwati live within 8 km of a health facility.”- Minister of Health Hon. Lizzie Nkosi
In their remarks, both the US Ambassador HE Earl Miller, and The British High Commissioner HE Simon Boyden recalled on the roles played by their respective countries in the founding of WHO. They informed the audience that their respective Countries’ support to Eswatini’s health system and WHO at all its levels through bilateral and multilateral arrangements. They both pledged continued collaboration and support to both Eswatini and WHO.
“Global milestones that have been achieved so far include Smallpox eradication, marked reduction in the incidence of polio, expanded program on immunization, oral rehydration therapy, tobacco control, HIV and TB incidence, and deaths reduction and current COVID-19 pandemic from which the country is taking an opportunity to build back better the health system” , Acting WHO Rep. Dr Geoffrey Bisoborwa.
Speaking on behalf of all the UN Agencies, the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. George Wachira called for increased investment for health, particularly to ensure the availability of a skilled health workforce. He also advocating for a multi-sectoral, whole government and society approach to addressing noncommunicable diseases and ensuring healthier populations.
Despite all these successes, the country needs to focus more on preventing and controlling non communicable diseases focusing on the risk factors and mental health. Antimicrobial resistance is also a major threat as well as the climate crisis. Reducing deaths due to Road Traffic crushes is another priority. Building the core capacities under the International Health Regulations towards improve public health security is crucial as well.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of WHO Regional Office for Africa.