The second meeting of the West African Network of Emerging Leaders in Health Policy and Systems (WANEL) has ended here in Niamey, Niger.
The WANEL seeks to work with stakeholders in West Africa to ensure that research findings were translated into actions for better health outcomes.
It also seeks to increase its influence on health systems for health outcome improvement in the sub-region through mentoring the next generation of health system actors as well as civil society and media practitioners in the sub-region and Cameroon to improve health outcomes, including maternal, newborn, child and adolescent.
The two-day meeting themed, “Amplifying influence of West African emerging and practice leaders in health policy and systems”, was intended to increase the visibility and political presence of WANEL, attract more opportunities for networking and expansion of the network and set a strategic landscape for the future.
It was attended by 17 members of the network made up of public health physicians, research scientists, medical anthropologists, media and civil society organisation from Francophone and Anglophone countries in ECOWAS.
Addressing the meeting, the director general of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), Dr. Xavier Crespin, pledged to support the capacity building of members of WANEL to help make a positive change in health policy and systems and health outcomes in the sub-region.
He underscored the importance of action research, stressing that research must go beyond making recommendation and putting them on the shelves, to translate the findings into actions to improve health outcomes.
Dr. Crespin noted that, in spite of the financial and human resources challenges of WAHO, the organisation succeeded in mobilising resources to support the control of the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in the sub-region.
Commenting on the importance of addressing the multi-sectoral and social determinants of improved health outcomes in the sub-region, Dr. Crespin mentioned the “One Health Approach Platform” that would seek to build partnership with other sectors like education, agriculture, communication sectors for better human development outcomes in the sub region.
In her presentation, COMCAHPSS Coordinator, Dr. Aku Kwamie said that WANEL seeks to build capacities in emerging health system actors through application of knowledge and innovations.
She expressed the optimism that the consortium would strengthen the capacities of emerging mid-level health professionals to work with decision and policy makers to identify relevant research agenda and translate the findings into best practice.
Senior IDRC Programme Officer Ms. Sue Godt, pledged the continuing support of IDRC to the activities of COMCAHPSS and WANEL to improve health systems and policies.
Professor Irene Agyepong of the Ghana Health Services Research and Development Division and senior lead on COMCAHPSS commended the IDRC and WAHO in supporting the activities of WANEL. She also commended WANEL on the impressive strides that have been made in such a short space of time.
From Salifu Abdul-Rahaman, Niamey