The new World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative to the Republic of Botswana and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Dr. Josephine Namboze paid a courtesy call on the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax on 4th November 2019, in Gaborone, Botswana, to formally introduce herself following her appointment in August 2019.
Dr. Josephine Namboze thanked the SADC Executive Secretary for the opportunity accorded to her to visit the Secretariat and reaffirmed WHO's commitment to continue cooperating with SADC based on priorities within the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations. She expressed the desire to explore additional areas of collaboration in line with Member States’ commitments to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr. Namboze further highlighted her organisation’s willingness to support the region with capacity building in establishing accredited centres of excellence based on WHO and Centres for Disease Control (CDC) norms, in light of the current limited centres of excellence in the health sector in the SADC region.
The SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, congratulated Dr. Josephine Namboze for her appointment and assured her of SADC’s commitment to continue working with WHO. Dr. Tax highlighted that the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) areas of focus in the health sector are aligned to the SDGs, and emphasised that continued cooperation with WHO should prioritise achievement of the region’s health targets.
Dr. Tax also called upon WHO to consider supporting the domestication of global health strategies through action plans that address critical health priorities and needs at the regional and national levels. In this regard, she underscored the need to avoid a reversal of the gains that have been made in the prevention and management of communicable diseases, especially Malaria, Tuberculosis, and HIV and AIDS.
The two Parties agreed to work together in the area of capacity building and policy harmonisation across Member States as guided by the SDGs. It was also agreed that technical teams from the two institutions should meet to come up with concrete areas of cooperation.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Officer in Charge for the Directorate of Social and Human Development, Dr. Maxwell Parakokwa and Ms. Kelejwang Moichubedi from the Office of the Executive Secretary. The WHO Representative was accompanied by Ms. Kentse Moakofhi, National Professional Officer at WHO.