King Mohammed VI has stressed the need to grant utmost attention in Africa to citizens’ health, which is paramount in promoting solidarity and closer bonds between peoples, and is crucial for effective South-South cooperation.
In a message addressed to participants in the First African Conference on Health Harm Reduction, held in Marrakech November 16 to 18, the Sovereign said that health is one of the greatest challenges facing the African continent, and that the Covid-19 pandemic “has shown the need for collective action and for the scaling up of projects.”
The pandemic “has also highlighted the need for equipping our countries with the necessary infrastructure in this field, and for making sure African peoples have access to the necessary medicines and vaccines to protect themselves against various diseases and epidemics,” stressed the King in this message, which was read by Minister of Health and Social Protection, Khalid Ait Taleb.
The King recalled that since his accession to the Throne, he has “applied a new, geo-strategic approach within the framework of South-South partnerships. It is based on solidarity, cooperation and common interests to benefit African citizens.”
The Sovereign said, in this connection, that Morocco has been providing scholarships to train African doctors, pharmacists and medical staff at various Moroccan universities.
“My country has also launched several projects in many African countries, building clinics and hospitals, and sending humanitarian aid, including equipment, medical supplies and medicines,” he recalled.
The Sovereign also recalled that as part of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, Morocco donated significant quantities of equipment, protection and prevention products as well as medicines to over twenty African countries.
In parallel, “the Kingdom of Morocco has been supporting constructive multilateral initiatives and has promoted joint action at the continental level in this regard.” The kingdom has also been actively engaged, alongside all partners, in the efforts to build a coherent pan-African health system based on research and development and it has also sought to make sure the material and human resources needed are available, relying on relevant proactive programs and policies, the king stated further in his message.
The Sovereign also stressed the need for Africa to embrace technological progress in the health sector, and to make sure African health systems are keeping abreast of development in this area.
Reiterating the full readiness of Morocco to share with the rest of friendly and brotherly African countries the experience and know-how it has accumulated in this area, the Sovereign said that the Kingdom of Morocco was already working to ensure universal social protection coverage.
The first challenge of this undertaking is “the expansion of compulsory health coverage to include all citizens, subscription to pension schemes for the active population, universal access to family allowances, and compensation for loss of employment,” noted the king.
“This project is nothing less than a social revolution in view of its direct and tangible effects on improving the living conditions of citizens, preserving their dignity and ensuring equitable access to health and social services as part of a proximity policy,” said the Sovereign, adding that “the aim is to achieve balanced development, as well as social and regional justice”.