On 12 and 13 May 2023, EMERGENCY attended the Partners’ Forum and 24th ordinary session of the assembly of health ministers of ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States – in the framework of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. The EMERGENCY delegation presented the African Network of Medical Excellence (ANME) to the assembly in order to promote greater understanding of the model, develop connections for future collaboration, and discuss how ANME can promote specialised training of medical personnel.
Luca Rolla, Director of EMERGENCY’s Regional Programme, and Jacopo Tomasina, Advocacy Manager for Health and Development, attended the event to present to Health Ministers, international institutions, and partner organisations from across the ECOWAS region.
What is ANME?
ANME is a healthcare model pioneered by EMERGENCY and a coalition of African nations to promote an integrated health system that responds to endemic issues across the continent. It is based on the EQS principles – equality, quality and social responsibility:
Standards of healthcare, set by the progress of medical knowledge, must be delivered equally and without discrimination to all patients.
High-quality health systems must be based on the community’s needs, up to date with the achievements of medical science, and not oriented, shaped or determined by lobbies and corporations.
Governments should consider their citizens’ health and well-being priorities, and treatment should be free and available for anyone who needs it.
The ANME principles are manifested within Centres of Excellence. The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan, has conducted over 93,000 examinations and more than 10,000 open-heart surgeries. The Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe, Uganda, opened in 2021 and has admitted over 2,000 patients in two years.
The Centres also serve as training hubs, running accredited programmes for residents in cardiology, cardiac surgery, internal medicine, anaesthesia and paediatrics.
The Regional Cardiac Programme sends screening missions throughout partner countries; patients identified through the programme are brought to the Salam Centre for treatment, completely free of charge. More than 1,700 patients operated on at the Salam Centre came from the Regional Programme.
A Regional Programme for paediatric patients began in 2023.
ANME and the Regional Programmes would not be possible without the cooperation and collaboration of several countries’ Health Authorities and intergovernmental organisations. This cooperation has so far led to patients from 24 African countries receiving treatment at EMERGENCY’s Centres of Excellence, with guaranteed follow-up care in their home countries.
ANME seeks to demonstrate that, through regional collaboration and investment in the health sector, Medicine of Excellence is feasible, replicable and sustainable in Africa.
The strengthening and expansion of ANME therefore relies on further governmental involvement to increase the quality of care across Africa and build up local health systems. EMERGENCY was honoured by the opportunity to discuss the opportunities that Centres of Excellence can provide in specialist training to ECOWAS, another key stakeholder in the development and capacity-building of health systems on the continent. We look forward to future collaborations in West Africa and beyond.