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Today, I ask each of the 10 affected countries to demonstrate that commitment. If we can make an impact in the 10 countries, that would be a significant change in the overall malaria situation in our continent. And I join my sister, Tshidi, to congratulate Algeria in becoming free of malaria, certified this year. South Africa, for example, is a global leader in rolling out preventive treatment and rapid diagnostics for TB. As with so many other health issues, the keys are visionary leadership, multisectoral accountability and constructive engagement, especially with civil society organizations.
As you know, even as we continue to fight the familiar foes of communicable diseases, we are contending with a new threat: the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases. Almost 60 million children in Africa are stunted and 14 million suffer from wasting. At the same time, 10 million children are overweight — almost double the number in On current trends, we are unlikely to meet either the global nutrition targets for , nor the nutrition targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Although we have made great progress against hunger over the past 50 years, access to diverse and nutritious food has not improved equally for everyone.
Foods high in salt, sugars, saturated fats and trans fats have become cheaper and more widely available. So political commitment that results in policy change or investments to address these problems is required as a matter of urgency. The strategic plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition in Africa spells out exactly what those policy changes should be, from promoting breastfeeding to regulating the marketing of foods to increasing taxes on sugary drinks. As the plan makes clear, this is not a job for ministries of health alone. It will take a whole-of-government approach that addresses the root causes of malnutrition.
Emergency preparedness. Malaria and TB. Malnutrition and NCDs. Each of these issues requires a tailored response. In Astana last year, all WHO Member States reaffirmed that primary health care is the bedrock of universal health coverage. Many of your countries have made impressive progress towards delivering essential health services at the district level, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Republic of Congo and Uganda.
Across the region, only one-third of people can access essential health services, and only one-third can do so without fear of financial hardship. During the African Union Summit in February this year, your countries endorsed the Addis Ababa Call to Action, a powerful commitment to increase domestic financing for health, especially for primary health care. I have said already that I remind health leaders to honor their commitment.