Eswatini Daily News

By Phephile Motau

The Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi, has pleaded with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to invite Taiwan to the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer.

The minister was speaking during the 76th WHA which is currently taking place in Geneva. She also urged the WHO to include Taiwan in all WHO meetings, mechanisms, and activities, based on the WHO principle of leaving no one behind.

“Taiwan can help and is willing to share its expertise to improve global health,” she said.

READ MORE: WHO ‘overstretched’ in response to increasing health emergencies

The Republic of China (Taiwan) was left out of this year’s assembly after the country’s inclusion was strongly opposed by mainland China which maintains the island is its province and not an independent country.
Nkosi further shared Eswatini’s health successes and interventions for health issues.

She said the country’s recent achievements in HIV have contributed to increased life expectancy from 42 years in 2001 to 60 years in 2020.

She further said Eswatini completed the third consecutive Population-based HIV Impact Assessment, which showed a further reduction in HIV incidence from 1.4 per cent in 2016 to 0.6 per cent in 2021.

“Aligned with the WHO goal of Cervical Cancer Elimination by 2030, Eswatini is ready to introduce the HPV vaccination campaign targeting girls aged nine-14 years and focusing on nine-year-olds routinely,” the minister said.

READ MORE: WHO hails Africa’s first mRNA vaccine hub

She added that going forward towards 2030 for full HIV epidemic control, Eswatini must focus on identified gaps, particularly on adolescent girls and young women.

She said Eswatini successfully managed the Covid-19 response, thanks to frontline workers, and support from WHO, Taiwan, and other partners, which has set a foundation for strengthening the country’s Public Health Emergency Management System. Nkosi said the Covid-19 response provided an opportunity for the country to increase its oxygen capacity through the establishment of oxygen generation plants.

“With the support of Taiwan, we are now manufacturing medical masks, and supplying other countries,” she said.

READ MORE: WHO dismisses manager after sexual misconduct findings

Nkosi added that as part of a multi-sectoral approach to strengthen the One Health Approach, Eswatini established Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) activities in 2020.

She said laboratories in the human and animal health sectors are capacitated to conduct bacteriological tests, and prescribers are being sensitised to improve their prescribing practices.

The minister said Eswatini was now enrolled in the WHO GLASS reporting system and is better positioned to contribute to the global fight against AMR.

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