To provide a premier avenue for presentation of groundbreaking tailor-made technologies, research and recommendations in healthcare for Rural Africa
To create a balanced platform for healthcare experts and youth from around the continent to shape an integrated perspective on the future of healthcare in Africa and proffer feasible alternatives to traditional methods which can be adopted by Governments and the AU
FEDERATION OF AFRICAN MEDICAL STUDENTS ASSOCIATIONS (FEDERATION DES ASSOCIATION DES ETUDIANTS EN MEDICINE) abbreviated as FAMSA is the official umbrella body for all African medical students Founded in 1968 as a Nigerian, Ugandan and Ghanaian initiative to foster the spirit of friendship and cooperation among African, FAMSA is an independent, project oriented, non-political medical student body and is recognized by the African Union and the World Health Organization as the official international forum of African medical students.
The Federation of African Medical Students’ Association General Assembly (FAMSA GA) and Scientific Conference is by far the largest congregation of the African Health workforce; bringing together Health professionals and trainees across the continent and beyond. The 34th Assembly and conference is expected to host over 1000 delegates not just from African, but all over the world in attendance.
FAMSA envisions improved health of the African people and delivers remarkable contributions to the same at any opportune moment. This conference offers an environment for high-yield and critical contributions to the African and Global health table. It leverages collaborative partnership with International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA), European Medical Students’ Association (EMSA) and International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation Afro region (IPSF Afro).
“Leaving no one behind” (United Nations, 2018) remains by far the richest global promise to poor countries and segments of society in vulnerable situations. However, at current progress rates, the pledge of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is unlikely to be achieved by 2030 more so in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rural Africa has persistently been excluded from progress towards global health goals, with the greatest sufferers being women and children.
For better or for worse, science and technology are powerful agents of change, depending on how they are steered (Global SDG Report, 2019). Guided by the 2030 Agenda, the 34th FAMSA GA and conference aims to create a science-policy-society junction and harness breakthroughs in accelerating equitable healthcare.
Over 60 per cent of total scientific literature and most research and development are carried out in high-income countries (SDG Report, 2019). The same report recommends that facilitating multidirectional science and technology transfers from North to South and from South to North and through South-South collaborations will contribute to better aligning progress and innovation trajectories to meet the needs of the 2030 Agenda. Healthcare is central to the overall development of a region and to take a leap, Africa must take a leading role in revolutionizing its healthcare systems to improve health indices across the continent which are, at present, abysmal.
This Assembly will bring together young creative and vibrant minds as well as professionals and relevant stakeholders in both the public and private sectors from across Africa and beyond; it will feature keynote addresses, plenary sessions, health hackathons, research presentations, workshops and trainings on carefully selected subthemes all related and contributory to our goal of tapping in the transformative power of science and technology in order to achieve equitable healthcare.
Over half of the world’s population (60% of which is in Africa) cannot obtain essential health services (World Bank and WHO, 2017). The greatest sufferers being women and children living in Rural and hard-to-reach locations of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite decades of Governments efforts, Maternal mortality remains unacceptably high; estimated at 415 (far above the target of 70) maternal deaths per 100 000 live births in world’s least developed countries with the lifetime risk as high as 1 in 37 for a 15-year old girl in SSA compared to 1 in 7800 for the same girl in developed countries. Sub-Saharan Africa alone accounted for roughly 66% (196 000) of the estimated global maternal deaths in 2017. While the world celebrates a 59% drop in under-5 mortalities from 1 in 11 children in 1990 to 1 in 26 children in 2018 dying before reaching age 5, 1 in every 13 children to this day does not live to see their fifth birthday south of Sahara Desert.
Women and children in remote parts of the continent donate the greatest portion of mortalities to simple preventable and treatable diseases like Malaria, Pneumonia, Diarrhea and perinatal complications; most of which do not enter any official death registration systems. This conference will leverage the power of technology as a vital player in promoting safe, convenient and affordable alternatives to traditional methods while translating evidence into options for Maternal and child Health in Rural Africa.
Following the wake of AIDS in 1981 to date, H1N1 Swine flu of 2009-10, West African Ebola Virus epidemic of 2014-16, Zika virus epidemic of 2015 to date and today’s Coronavirus pandemic, there has been unprecedented social and economic costs and untold loss of lives, more so in Africa.
In response to these health crises, countries have built surveillance and response systems, new digital approaches to disease surveillance have emerged across the globe, aimed at speeding up the transfer of epidemiological data and increasing countries’ preparedness for future outbreaks. For Africa however, a lot needs to be done in adopting usable technologies and integrating them in day-to-day National Health systems. This conference gathers diverse innovations under one roof from which a practical arsenal can be assembled by countries to spearhead this challenge.
HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Diarrhea are all preventable and treatable infectious diseases but form major causes of mortality in Africa. Re-emerging, zoonotic and Neglected tropical diseases are noteworthy in the African Health terrain.
A lot has been done in overcoming the scourge of infectious diseases in Africa and there have been records of successes. We, however, still have huge unmet gaps in reaching global and regional targets. We must also rise to the growing challenges like Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), the need for newer drugs and dwindling funding while we improve on what has been done so far. At the conference, our goal is to stimulate actions that will aid us in winning the battle against infectious diseases in Africa.
Partly as a consequence, the proportion of Africans who receive treatment for mental health problems is extremely low. While the global annual rate of visits to mental health outpatient facilities is 1051 per 100 000 populations, in Africa the rate is 14 per 100 000. The region has 1·4 mental health workers per 100 000 people, compared with a global average of 9·0 per 100 000; The scarcity of research mirrors the weakness of mental health services on the continent.
Silently, mental illnesses are becoming an epidemic in Africa particularly at a time when not much is being said and even far little done about mental health in the region. Only a meagre percentage of health funding in most African countries goes to mental health. How can we raise awareness? How do we begin to break the silence on this issue in our various countries? How can we tackle the challenges in mental health?
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent the leading cause of death worldwide, killing 41 million people each year—equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. Among NCDs, the four top killers that together account for more than 80% of all premature NCD deaths include cardiovascular diseases (17·9 million deaths annually), cancers (9·0 million), respiratory diseases (3·9 million), and diabetes (1·6 million).
There has been a surge in the burden of NCDs in sub-Saharan Africa over the past two decades, driven by increasing incidence of cardiovascular risk factors such as unhealthy diets, reduced physical activity, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, dyslipidemias, and air pollution. NCDs are set to overtake communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional (CMNN) diseases combined as the leading cause of mortality in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. In this conference, we provide a rich platform for exchanging new, and evaluating old approaches and efforts needed to curb the burden of NCDs in the region, starting with the provision of reliable epidemiological estimates of NCDs and their drivers to appropriately inform prevention and control strategies.
Not only is there poor quality of health data to inform evidence-based planning and decision making, but also inadequate commitment by policy makers to utilize available health systems research; Maternal and child death often take place in contexts of social, economic and geographical discrimination and marginalization, which requires attention to upstream causes of mortality and morbidity in addition to clinically effective interventions. The need to develop strategic policies to reform the healthcare sectors in our countries cannot be overemphasized. We also realize the need to develop strong health financing platforms if we must achieve Universal Health Coverage.