The theme of the 2018 AFENET Scientific Conference was “Building resilient and sustainable public health systems in Africa through Field Epidemiology Training”.
The conference was held at the Joaquim Chissano Conference Center from 11 – 16 November 2018 in Maputo, Mozambique, bringing together more than 500 public health experts from over 30 countries. The AFENET biennial conference provides a platform for residents and graduates of Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (FELTP) and other public health professionals to share field experiences and advance best practices in public health.
The 2018 conference was organized by the National Institute of Health (INS) under the Mozambique Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Mozambique FELTP. Experts from Ministries of Health, Agriculture, Animal & Fisheries, Environment, and Tourism, as well as representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other international health organizations met to jointly discuss issues that impact public health outcomes in Africa.
In addition to the interactive plenary sessions and pre-conference workshops, the conference provided insight into FELTP activities across the African continent. AFENET also hosted a Ministerial Roundtable on 12 November at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Maputo, adjacent to the conference venue. This marked the 3RD MRT with all ministers of health in Africa meeting to deliberate on key public health challenges and chart a way forward towards building resilient and sustainable public health systems.Previous Ministerial Roundtables were held in Dar es Salam, Tanzania and Abuja, Nigeria.
This was the first time the AFENET Conference was held in Southern Africa and in a Portuguese speaking country. Participants had a chance to visit Mozambique’s National Institute of Health, which conducts research and innovation in areas such as reproductive health as well as The Manhiça Health Research Centre, a center of excellence in biomedical research.
The opening ceremony for the conference was honored and attended by the Honourable Dr. Nazira Karimo Vali Abdula, Minister of Health, Mozambique as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Captain Dr. Nancy Knight, the Director of the Division of Global Health Protection (DGHP) and Dr Rebecca Martin, the Director of the Center for Global Health (CGH), Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, the Regional Emergencies Director, World Health Organization to mention but a few. In addition to these were other distinguished public health experts from Africa and around the world, who provided thought-provoking presentations developed around the conference theme of building resilient and sustainable health systems.
The AFENET Conference and Ministerial Roundtable were transformative and instrumental in providing a way forward in public health development in Africa and securing a healthier future for its people.