Cairo, October 11, 2022 – In presenting his annual report for 2021, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, highlighted how the COVID-19 pandemic has continues to cause such a serious number, with a total of 28 million cases. confirmed and more than 348 000 deaths reported across the Region in October 2022.
As the pandemic developed, severely disrupting health services, economies and communities, we became “experts in dealing with multi-risk emergencies”, Dr. Al-Mandhari speak.
But the disruption has brought opportunity, spurring investment and large-scale innovation as WHO, governments and partners use new technologies and new ways of working to control the spread of infections. infection, distribute life-saving vaccines and keep essential health services running.
“This is a potential paradigm shift. Properly implemented, digital technology can support radical improvements in the accessibility, quality, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of health systems,” he said.
Dr Al-Mandhari also drew attention to how the mid-term review of the Health for All regional vision “has brought together the WHO workforce, Member States, partners and external experts. Outsiders come together to closely assess progress on our four regional strategic priorities – expanding universal health coverage, addressing health emergencies, empowering populations healthier numbers and create transformative changes within WHO ¬– and towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. “
By 2021, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Member States and partners have responded to 10 large-scale humanitarian crises, 31 disease outbreaks and 27 public health events. community while working to strengthen emergency medical preparedness throughout the Region.
While some progress has been made in the fight against infectious diseases, Dr Al-Mandhari warns that the Region cannot let its guard down.
“Even before COVID-19 hit, our Region was behind on global infectious disease targets, and the pandemic has set us off,” he said.
“Since 2020, an additional 4.5 million children in the Region have not received a single dose of routine vaccines. It’s a positive ticking time bomb in terms of potential outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, and polio. We absolutely need to find and vaccinate every child without a dose.”
Although he also expressed concern about progress in tackling non-communicable diseases, the cause of 70% of all deaths in the Region, Dr Al-Mandhari said he appreciated the “impressive commitment” from countries with diverse backgrounds and resources.”
After covering a wide range of health-related activities, achievements and challenges, Dr Al-Mandhari concluded by expressing confidence in the Region’s ability to overcome the barriers ahead .
“I am confident that we can achieve even more in this new era – if every Member State commits, and if we tap into our full potential and talents.”
“We can build strong, resilient health systems in every country. We can give life-saving vaccines to every child. We can defeat vested interests that seek to profit from unhealthy products. We can create a healthy and sustainable tomorrow. We can achieve our vision of Health for All. “
To read the full report, click here.