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ECOWAS, Burkina Faso sign revised HQ agreement for WAHO
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The ECOWAS Commission and the Government of Burkina Faso have signed a revised Headquarters Agreement for the country’s hosting of the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the ECOWAS specialized health agency.

The President of the Commission, H.E Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo and Burkina Faso’s Minister of State for Regional Cooperation, Honourable Moussa Nébié initialled the document in the nation’s capital Ouagadougou on 6th March 2015.

The ECOWAS chief welcomed the signing of the revised accord, and recalled the important decision by regional leaders 17 years ago to establish the WAHO headquarters in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso’s second largest city.

“Indeed, WAHO, which officially commenced operations in 2000, can take pride in being the only major ECOWAS institution whose headquarters is not located in the capital of a Member State,” the president noted.

He described the proper management of WAHO’s activities from rural Bobo-Dioulasso as an indication of the cordial relationship between the institution and its social and professional environment and commended Burkinabe authorities for their “unrelenting and strong support” to the institution which has sustained its operation.

Following the signing of the first headquarters agreement 15 years ago and now the revised version, the President said “further commitment, dedication and accountability is required in the execution of our tasks with a view to providing better health conditions to our Community citizens,” which is the very essence of WAHO’s creation.

“The major objective of WAHO is to ensure improved quality of health care management system by developing and supporting integrated health policies as well as programme reform initiatives,” the ECOWAS chief said, and congratulated the organization’s Director-General and the staff for their efforts in the fight against the Ebola epidemic.

In his remarks, the Minister commended WAHO’s “sustained commitment” to the implementation of its principal mission of promoting health cooperation among Member States under the ECOWAS leadership.

“Since 25 May 2001 when the first headquarters agreement was signed, both parties have left no stone unturned in ensuring its effective implementation,” the Minister said, adding however, that after years of operation, it has become necessary to update the agreement to reflect current demands.

WAHO is the outcome of the merger of two former regional health organisations – the Organisation for Coordination and Cooperation in the fight against the Great Endemics (OCCGE) and the West African Health Community (WAHC).
Present at the ceremony were several dignitaries including the Burkinabe Health Minister, Honourable Amédée Djiguemdé, who underscored the excellent relations between WAHO and the host government.

He described the signing of the new agreement as “the beginning of a new era of closer cooperation with good prospects for all.”

The revised agreement is expected to facilitate effective implementation of WAHO activities in Burkina Faso and the entire region, and also ensure “better implementation of its approved projects and programmes which significantly contribute to the welfare of the recipient populations.”

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