, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 30 – The 7th Global Conference on Health ended on Friday with an adoption of a declaration that committed governments to close the implementation gaps in health promotion.
The Nairobi call-to-action demanded that governments exercise their responsibility for public health to promote social justice and equity in health provision and be accountable for improving people’s quality of life.
“Health promotion is a core and the most cost-effective strategy to improve health and quality of life, and reduce health inequities and poverty,” the document stated in part.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka who closed the meeting which was attended by over 600 delegates from 100 countries said the Kenyan government would review current policies and programmes to include health promotion and ensure implementation of the document.
“This commitment requires that governments, Civil Society Organisations, communities as well as individuals join hands in ensuring implementation of the strategies identified by the conference to be able to address the challenges that continue to negatively impact on health and on development in general,” the VP said.
Mr Musyoka noted that promotion of good health could only succeed if nations made progress on preventing the spread of killer diseases like HIV/AIDS, Malaria; eradicated water borne diseases like cholera and ensured availability of vaccines against pandemics such as the H1N1 influenza virus.
“We need to be able to mainstream health care,” he said.
Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said the Nairobi call for action should serve to alleviate suffering of local communities from ill health especially by preventable diseases.
“The Nairobi call is like the African lion and it must roar around the globe and we are the ones who are going to make it possible,” Mrs Mugo said.
“So we had better make sure that the Nairobi Call for Action gets to be known and to be implemented so that our time here will be worthwhile,” she added.
The Minister expressed confidence that the recommendations of the conference would help to bridge the implementation gaps in health promotion particularly in Africa and other developing parts of the world.
The document identified five urgent responsibilities for governments and partners to implement which included strengthening leadership and workforces, mainstreaming health promotion, empowering communities and individuals, enhancing participatory processes and building and applying knowledge.
It was developed by the conference participants who included health ministers, politicians, health experts, health practitioners and community representatives. It was hosted by the World Health Organisation and the Kenyan government.