Africa has made significant inroads in terms of accessibility to essential health services and treatment, says United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Kiki Gbeho.

Speaking at the commemoration of World Health Day in Windhoek, Gbeho says in the 70 years of the World Health Organisation’s existence, health outcomes on the continent have improved.

“For the first time, 14 million people have access to life-saving HIV treatment.”

In addition to this, new cases of malaria have dropped by 20%, ensuring 37% less deaths due to the disease in Africa in the last six years.

Meanwhile, by 2016 – children vaccinated against pneumonia and meningitis stood at 65%, a 62% increase from 3% in 2010.

Gbeho also notes that Africa accounts for over 50% of polio cases globally.

She says: “The good news is that since August 2016, Africa has not reported a single case of wild poliovirus.”

The UN resident coordinator, however, acknowledges that more needs to be done to curb the increase in non-communicable diseases and to tackle epidemics like Ebola and cholera.

This year’s theme for World Health Day is, Universal Health Coverage.

Universal health coverage seeks to ensure that everyone, everywhere in the world has access to health services without facing financial catastrophes.

World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on April 7 under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation and other related organisations.