The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged the international community to boost funding to control communicable diseases, particularly in Africa and other developing regions hosting refugees.

WHO’s Director of Health and Migration, Dr Santino Severoni says that increased funding and revamping healthcare systems are crucial to addressing the threat of communicable diseases.

Speaking at an international conference on economic transformation for Africa at the Mount Kenya University in Thika, Severoni expressed concern over the persistent threat of communicable diseases among migrants in financially challenged countries due to the rise of new infectious vectors.

“There is an ongoing discussion on health and immigration to develop policies that can help tackle these health challenges. We have seen the emergence of new infectious vectors, and the lack of essential protection exacerbates the threat to people,” he said.

Severoni, however, acknowledged the significant progress made in combating diseases like malaria but pointed out that chronic ailments remain a major global health challenge.

He raised concern over the rising mortality rates from lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and hypertension, and called for stakeholders to collaborate in addressing these issues.

MKU Pro-Chancellor Dr. Vincent Gaitho stated that the WHO’s migration health discourse would guide stakeholders on where to invest to tackle health challenges.

“From the recommendations of this conference, stakeholders will be able to embrace the action areas needed to drive the future of the continent,” he said.

Gaitho also urged African governments to promote policies that discourage migration.

Prof. John Struthers, MKU Chancellor and Director at Careed for the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), noted that the challenges facing migrants globally have not been sufficiently addressed.

He stressed the need to prioritize these issues to alleviate migrants’ suffering, a sentiment echoed by MKU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Deogratius Jaganyi.

Prof. Jaganyi called for enhanced partnerships among stakeholders and the development of policies that support livelihoods and promote economic prosperity across sub-Saharan Africa.

The 8th annual international conference of the Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development (Careed) is being held under the theme, “Fostering Economic Transformation in African Ecosystems: The Impact of Trade, Infrastructure, and Innovation.”


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