If Africa and Asia are to reap the benefits of having a youthful population and improve their economies, they must improve healthcare for women, adolescents and youth.
By doing so, Dr Tshepo Motsepe said the two continents will be able to improve their economies, create jobs and enjoy benefits for all.
Dr Motsepe, who is a medical doctor by profession and a patron of the South African Civil Society for Women’s, Adolescents’ and Children’s Health – made the remarks at the Africa-Asia Partnerships in Health and Healthcare delivery for Women and Youth Conference in Johannesburg.
This two-day conference convenes scholars, policymakers, and practitioners across disciplines from Africa, Asia, United States and the rest of the world to move the agenda forward for safeguarding the health and development of women and youth in Africa.
The conference is co-hosted by the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.
Motsepe said the conference builds on the success of the first Africa-Asia conference also known as the Bandung conference.
Through this conference, partnerships which aim to unite the two continents, were forged.
She called on the two continents, who share a common history, to focus their efforts on addressing family planning, communicable diseases, conflict and climate change which have a significant impact on women and youth.
In addressing these issues, Motsepe said Africa and Asia would position themselves to achieve the United Nation’s third sustainable development goal (SDG).
Under this SDG, it is envisioned that nations can ensure a healthy life for all and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.
As the conference enters day two, it will focus on Africa-Asia collaboration in sexual and reproductive health, the double burden of undernutrition and overnutrition, infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases including mental health.
Delegates will also engage on vaccine development, strengthening private-public partnerships in health, and better academic collaboration in research and education underscored by multisectoral approaches to health and healthcare delivery.