Symposium session on Health and Education prescribes African approach to development (workshop)

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This, she said, was the best approach to ensuring that country-specific strategies were designed to develop the two sectors before development partners were invited.

She said even when African countries were seeking donor assistance, it should be done in a coherent manner that would make affected countries optimize the benefits of assistance to be rendered.

She said any capacity development programme designed for the two sectors must also be such that could mobilize the energies and resources of the people and the countries in a sustainable manner.

In her own contribution, Interim Vice-President, Operations, North, East and South at the ADB, Zainab El Bakri, said capacity building in the two areas must not be limited to government levels, but that any assistance received in the direction must be used efficiently to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

She identified lack of adequate management and administrative capacity on the continent as one of the challenges facing the education sector, adding that low number and low quality of teachers were other impediments.

El Bakri also blamed lack of data for planning as an obstacle to capacity building in education, just as limited opportunities for the use of ICT and limited capacity to handle issues of gender mainstreaming had not helped matters.

She said in the area of health services delivery, urban bias in the distribution of health personnel and facilities had adversely affected coverage areas in a lot of African countries.

She also identified lack of spread of specialized skills for combating diseases and infections like HIV/AIDS as militating against the fight to reverse the spread of the scourge.

El-Bakri stressed that sustainable capacity needed to be built in the two areas so as to galvanize African countries toward attaining the MDGs.