Opening Ceremony of the Africa Health Fair 2019

The Africa Health Fair 2019 opened on Thursday, February 7, 2019, at the Palais des Congrès Sofitel Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan. From 7 to 9 February 2019, health professionals and scientists from all over the world will focus on “the quality approach for the development of health systems and the well-being of populations”.

The opening ceremony of the second specialists’ and health industry fair was chaired by Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire and Special Ambassador of UNAIDS. Sponsored by Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, the event witnessed the participation of Mr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Mr. Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Trade, Industry and the Promotion of SMEs and many other personalities.

As UNAIDS Special Ambassador and Patrone of the event, the First Lady again took the opportunity to advocate for the production of pediatric antiretrovirals (ARTs) in Africa. According to her, this local production will not only positively impact people’s accessibility to the drug but also its cost. It will also help to combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV / AIDS. Mrs. Dominique Ouattara also raised concern about the still too high rate of maternal mortality in Côte d’Ivoire. “(…) According to UNICEF data 2016, Côte d’Ivoire still has 614 maternal mortality per 100,000 births,” she said. For the wife of the head of state, the lack of specific health care for mothers and children is one of the main causes for maternal mortality. It is for all these reasons that she has decided to provide an adequate response to this problem through the construction of the Mother and Child’s Hospital in Bingerville. Talking about the forum, the First Lady recognises its importance to bring out strategic resolutions to save lives. “The high-level event, Africa Health Fair, is an appropriate platform to promote discussions between health professionals, with a view to finding a lasting solution to the challenges that must be faced,” said Dominique Ouattara.

Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice-President of the Republic and sponsor of the event explained the importance of such a forum to the Ivorian government’s health and social policy. In fact, 90% of drugs available to Ivorians are imported drugs when only 10% are produced locally. He therefore called on investors operating in this sector to favour local prodruction. For him, the local production will impact the cost and accessibility of drugs.

Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, Ivorian Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, explained the importance of this forum for the Ivorian Government. He said that the country is proud to welcome leading figures from the world of science and medicine. He pointed out that the 2nd Africa Health Fair brings together 200 visitors and experts from 15 countries around the world. For him, the forum offers them a platform for exchange to better consider health.

Professor Stanley Okolo, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) spoke about health challenges in Africa and expressed the wish to see a continent where drugs are more accessible to the people.

Dr. Linda Bouboutou Kaboré, event organizer thanked the First Lady for her commitment to the well-being of the people. Dr. Jean-Serge Koffi, 2nd Deputy Mayor of Cocody said how proud he is to host the event in his municipality. After the opening ceremony, the officials were able to visit various products available.