CPA advocacy at the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CHOGM 2022)
The theme for CHOGM 2022 was ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.’
In the second of a series of 2 blogs, Ms Winnie Nambatya reports on the CPA’s attendance at the Commonwealth People’s Forum.
Emerging from the Pandemic: Antimicrobial Resistance — a Call to Action
The CPA led this side event, as an interactive discussion, highlighting the global picture of AMR and the urgency to act now.
We showcased key CPA initiatives, such as the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship (CwPAMS) programme, which aims to address AMR through innovation, partnerships and transformation. We also reflected on the opportunities and threats emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic regarding infection prevention and management, as well as discussed barriers to tackling AMR and key actions required to change health systems and behaviours in a sustainable manner.
During the discussion, delegates highlighted an urgent need to strengthen health systems and regulatory bodies in detecting falsified and counterfeit medications. There was also concern that some LMICs are using substandard and falsified medications which contribute to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In some countries, regulatory bodies often lack the capacity to monitor health facilities and pharmacies; for example, in African countries, many pharmacies may dispense antimicrobials without a valid prescription; in the health facilities, antimicrobials are prescribed without microbiological evidence for their need. Furthermore, there was also strong concern about a lack of collaboration amongst health workers, especially between doctors and pharmacists.
The group agreed that there is an urgent call to action to educate health workers and communities on AMR.
Antimicrobial Resistance Global Leaders Group Event
The AMR Global Leaders Group, all experts from different backgrounds, led this session from a One Health approach, to drive collaboration and accelerate political action on AMR. They recognised that to mitigate AMR through responsible and sustainable access to and use of antibiotics, it is important to collaborate with governments, civil society organisations and the corporate sector on a global scale. The group also highlighted in this discussion that taking action to combat AMR is crucial not just for global health, but also for development, climate change, and future pandemic responses.
The Global Leaders concurred that to lessen the adverse outcome of untreatable infections, there was a driving need to increase funding for AMR surveillance, design, development and implementation of National Action Plans (NAP) that are costly and sustainable.
Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Summit
Tremendous strides have been made toward treating Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) since 2000 and yet they continue to take lives and put many at risk. This challenge was worsened by COVID-19. The Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) hosted by His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda brought together World leaders, who are committed to resolving the current challenges, including those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ending these devastating diseases.
Eligible Malaria endemic countries demonstrated their leadership by committing domestic funding of $2.18 billion as part of their Global Funding. His Excellency, President Paul Kagame also launched the Kigali Declaration on NTDs.
Experts discussed integrated approaches to address NTDs, including the need for ongoing innovation; assurance on access to current and new tools, solutions and resources that are effective and data-driven. There was discussion on the mobilisation of resources, as well as the requirement for ongoing funding including from non-governmental organisations.
Some of the key commitments made:
- A number of governments including Canada, Germany, Rwanda, UAE, the UK and the USA committed to support tackling AMR.
- Private companies including BioNTech, Dentsu, Ecobank, GSK, Goodbye Malaria, Novartis, Medicines Development for Global Health and Pfizer, committed to a variety of activities such as donations of medicines and health products; funding research and enhancement of local manufacturing Trusts, Funds, Foundations, and Philanthropists: These groupings made substantial commitments towards research funding, new treatments for NTDs, prevention and delivery as well as strengthening institutions in Africa. Commitments were made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the END Fund, The Global Fund to Fight TB, AIDS and Malaria, and the Wellcome Trust
- Civil Society Organisations to assist the Malaria and NTD programming, including significant resource mobilization pledges and community involvement. AMREF, Impact Santé Afrique, and Sightsavers all pledged support.
‘Building Resilient and Equitable National Health Systems’ Session
The session on “Building Resilient and Equitable National Health Systems” explored the need to strengthen health systems at local, regional and international levels as a key driver in securing UHC and the different ways to facilitate this, including through more effective coordination and collaboration between Commonwealth countries.
It was stated that recent years have served to highlight the numerous, interrelated factors that must come together to ensure strong national and global health systems, such as adequate attention to the social and economic determinants of health; governance structures must enable financial and human resources to be mobilised, deployed, and reconfigured in order to deliver services as and where needed; and the capacity to implement evidence-based practices.
It is vital that support and aid delivery methods be improved on a global scale, especially in times of a health emergency. It was also noted that Civil Societies have an important role in UHC; they are closest to their local communities, able to advocate for marginalised members of their societies and have a much deeper understanding of local cultures.
Their knowledge enables them to effectively advocate for change and target financing from Governments.
The Commonwealth was urged to advocate for inclusivity for all – there is a need to advocate for UHC and include people with disabilities and of all genders, races, and religions, The Commonwealth was further tasked and encouraged to advocate for the end of out-of-pocket expenditure.
Photo credits: CHOGM Rwanda 2022
Ms. Winnie Nambatya is a Lecturer of Clinical Pharmacy at Makerere University and a member of the antimicrobial access and use technical working committee at the ministry of health. Ms. She is currently the in-country consultant for the CommonWealth Pharmacists’ Association supporting the antimicrobial stewardship partnership program under which she has been crucial to the development and capacity-strengthening of health workers in Uganda.
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