Africa: Breaking Barriers for Better Health – 3rd International Conference On Public Health in Africa Opens in Lusaka, Zambia


The 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA 2023) opened today in Lusaka, Zambia, with African Heads of State, ministers of health, and leading scientists, innovators and researchers attending as speakers and participants. Under the theme Breaking Barriers: Repositioning Africa in the Global Health Architecture, the four-day conference will spotlight cutting-edge research and innovations, and present African-led solutions to public health challenges.

African countries have made significant progress in public health in recent years, supported by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Efforts to coordinate and strengthen disease surveillance and outbreak response, for example, have improved the continent’s ability to respond quickly to public health emergencies. Despite this progress, Africa continues to face many challenges: infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS claim millions of lives each year; the burden of noncommunicable diseases is increasing dramatically; and maternal mortality in Africa is among the highest in the world. These challenges reinforce the need to build resilient health systems that can deliver quality care to all while responding to emerging threats.

“Africa faces significant barriers, but through our collective resilience and ingenuity, we are breaking down these barriers and creating a New Public Health Order for the continent. CPHIA 2023 will advance conversations that will shape the future of health in Africa, through sharing African-led research, health products, and best practices. Our continent is a source of extraordinary knowledge and innovation – this conference will showcase this excellence and position Africa as a transformative force in the global health narrative,” said H.E. Dr Jean Kaseya, Director-General of Africa CDC.

CPHIA 2023 is hosted by the African Union and Africa CDC in partnership with the Zambia Ministry of Health and the Zambia National Public Health Institute. Taking place from 27-30 November 2023, the conference will feature 9 plenary and 18 parallel sessions, several high-level special sessions, 18 abstract driven sessions, and over 100 side events. The in-person conference comes after three days of virtual programming, including 18 virtual abstract sessions and more than 30 virtual side events.

This is the third edition of the conference, which was held virtually in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in person in 2022, drawing more than 2,800 participants to Kigali, Rwanda, and an additional 11,625 online.

Prof. Senait Fisseha, CPHIA 2023 Co-Chair and Vice President of Global Programs, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, commented: “CPHIA started during the COVID-19 pandemic – a pivotal time for Africa and the world. Coming together virtually in 2021 and in person in 2022, we shared lessons and approaches that saw us through the pandemic, and we have emerged stronger as a continent. CPHIA 2023 will build on these foundations, elevating African voices and solutions to create strong, responsive, and resilient health systems in Africa.”

Discussions in Lusaka will also explore resilient financing mechanisms to strengthen pandemic preparedness; Africa’s progress in advancing local production of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics; access to adequate healthcare for women and girls; and multi-sectoral response mechanisms to strengthen health security on the continent.

“Building on the success of CPHIA 2021 and 2022, this year’s convening will show how African researchers and health leaders are leveraging scientific research and innovations to develop groundbreaking solutions to long-standing challenges – and generating critical lessons from which the rest of the world can learn,” said Prof. Margaret Gyapong, CPHIA 2023 Co-Chair and Director of the Institute of Health Research, University of Health and Applied Sciences.

The conference will include remarks by His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia; Honourable Sylvia Masebo, Minister of Health of Zambia; Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization; CPHIA 2023 Co-Chairs, Professor Margaret Gyapong and Professor Senait Fisseha; His Excellency Moussa Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa at the World Health Organization; and H.E. Dr Jean Kaseya, among others.

“CPHIA is the largest gathering of health experts, leaders and researchers in Africa, and we are proud to host this year’s conference in Lusaka, Zambia. We look forward to welcoming all participants, and we encourage delegates to connect, collaborate, and learn from one another. Together we will break barriers and lay the foundation for a healthier, more prosperous Africa,” said Sylvia Masebo, Minister of Health of Zambia.