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PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged African leaders to focus on building healthcare capacity and train more healthcare providers in various specialties to keep the African population healthy and productive.

President Lungu said he believed that stronger political commitment, purposeful and strategic partnerships are key to improving health outcomes and the wellbeing of all people in the world, especially in Africa.

He said political leaders are accountable to the people for decisions they make and the results they achieve.

Mr Lungu said this when he officially opened the Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2021 virtual Conference and the celebration of the fourth anniversary of Merck Foundation yesterday.

The conference was being attended by African First Ladies, Ministers of Health and other experts from about 70 countries.

“To achieve the sustainable development goals, there is urgent need for innovative, dynamic and purposeful partnerships. It is only through effective coordination of collective effort that we can achieve these goals,” President Lungu said.

He also urged all the first ladies in Africa who are actively involved with the Merck Foundation to continue prioritising human capital development through various capacity building programmes which are aimed at supporting the work of the ministries of health in respective countries.

Mr Lungu has also thanked health workers on the continent for their efforts in the fight against the Covid-19.

President Lungu also said he was encouraged that Merck foundation had partnered with African governments including Zambia to reshape the human capital development landscape in Zambia by providing more than 85 Zambian doctors with specialised training in many fields such cancer, diabetes, hypertension and women health, reproductive health as well as respiratory and intensive care.

And speaking at the same event, First Lady Esther Lungu who is the co-chair of the conference thanked the Merck Foundation for its contribution to the improvement of the health sector in Africa.

And chairman of the Merch KG Executive Board, Frank Stungernberg Haverkamp said his organisation had done well in providing specialised training to the health workers.

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