Conference focuses on health, science

(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

The 15th Grand Challenges Annual Meeting, jointly hosted by the African Union, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health, the African Academy of Sciences, Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development, Welcome and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Meeting was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from October 27– 30, 2019.
The Grand Challenges Annual Meeting is a convening of over 1,000 key leaders from across the global community to share best practices, encourage collaboration and seek solutions for common challenges. It aims to build momentum for global health and development innovation and foster scientific collaboration among international groups and researchers.
The sessions placed an emphasis on the importance of scientific collaborations in improving lives and creating sustainable economic growth and provide an opportunity to put science and innovation at the top of domestic agendas and secure the political and financial commitments needed to give everyone a chance at a healthy, productive life.
The Grand Challenges family of initiatives seeks to engage innovators from around the world to solve science, technology and innovation, health and developmental challenges. Grand Challenges initiatives are united by their focus on fostering innovation, directing research to where it will have the most impact, and serving those most in need.
AU representative Albert Muchanga, applauded key stake holders for their efforts towards modernizing the African health system through research, science, innovation and technology.
The meeting in Addis created opportunities for participants to attend diverse scientific tracks with the focus ranging from the African research and developmental ecosystem to leveraging pathogen Genetic sequencing in Africa to agriculture pest and dieses surveillance and epidemiology as well as three plenary meeting featuring African heads of states, global scientific and research leaders and researchers across the continent.
The Grand challenge meeting back to Africa for the first time in 10 years – following meetings in Tanzania (2009) and South Africa (2007).
The meeting focuses on ways to to go faster together, as the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) deadline just over a decade away and finding ways to work together more efficiently to accelerate progress on key priorities.
Across the African continent, a strong, integrated research and development ecosystem will be crucial to unlocking the solutions needed to meet SDG targets and tackling the continent’s biggest health and development challenges, ultimately improving the lives of more than a billion people on the fastest growing continent panelists stressed adding that the enormous potential in the African scientific community, with established leaders and talented young researchers across the continent focused on developing innovative solutions to save and improve lives.