President Robert Mugabe is in Victoria Falls ahead of the opening ceremony of the 67th World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa Conference, which begins tomorrow and runs until the 1st of September.

He was welcomed at the Victoria International Airport by the Matabeleland North Minister of State, Ambassador Cain Mathema, the Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Sport and Recreation Makhosini Hlongwane, the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Aldrin Musiiwa, Victoria Falls Mayor Sifiso Mpofu, services chiefs and other government officials.

The President is expected to address about 33 ministers of health from Africa and other health development partners who are attending the high profile meeting aimed at improving the well-being of people on the African continent.

High on the agenda is the review of the WHO’s work on the continent, assessment of the regional framework for the implementation of the global strategic plan to improve public health preparedness and the evaluation of the regional strategy for neglected tropical diseases.

Meanwhile, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidise Moeti, who had a tour of the venue yesterday afternoon, expressed satisfaction with facilities and is upbeat of a successful meeting.

The conference will see participants deliberating on how best to consolidate the gains made in the regional health sector in particular the progress in reducing new HIV infections.

The meeting will also see delegates crafting strategies to improve countries’ capacity and preparedness to address disease outbreaks, taking into account the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.

The WHO Regional Committee for Africa is the organisation’s highest decision-making body on health in the African region.

The annual meeting of ministers of health provides a platform to develop strategies and actions to tackle public health challenges on the continent.