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Cultural Perception Hinders Women's Leadership Roles in Health Sector, Says Expert
Dr. Ebere Okereke highlights cultural biases hindering women's leadership in the health sector at the upcoming CPHIA 2023 conference in Lusaka, Zambia.
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — Cultural perception stands as a significant impediment to the progression of African women into leadership roles within the health sector, according to experts in the field, writes Maureen Kawerama.
One such expert is Dr. Ebere Okereke, spokesperson the forthcoming annual International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), scheduled to be held in Lusaka, Zambia, from November 27 to 30, 2023.
Speaking to AfricaBrief, Dr. Okereke emphasised that colonial cultural beliefs in Africa have perpetuated the notion that women are not suited for leadership roles.
To address this issue, this year's conference will focus on breaking these ingrained barriers.
She stated, "There are biases within our systems where the definition of a leader is automatically associated with males. Therefore, we need to change this perception. To do so, we must pay attention to policies that ensure qualified women receive opportunities and support through mentorship programmes, allowing them to develop and thrive in leadership roles."
Dr. Okereke further pointed out that if women are not afforded access to the necessary education and workplaces that are supportive of their growth, they may struggle to fulfil their leadership potential.
CPHIA 2023, themed "Breaking Barriers, Repositioning Africa in the Global Health Architecture," will underscore how stakeholders across the continent are challenging norms and promoting innovative science and programming.
Several tracks will be discussed during the conference, including Epidemiology, Diagnostics, and Clinical Management of Emerging and Re-emerging High-Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) in Africa, Women in Health, Safeguarding Africa’s Health Security, Digital Innovations in Health, Strengthening Health Systems for Equitable and Universal Health Coverage in Africa, and Non-Communicable Diseases, which pose a growing public health threat in Africa.
The Africa Centre for Disease Control’s annual International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA) serves as a vital African-led platform for leaders from across the continent to showcase new discoveries and advance programmes and policies aimed at strengthening health systems and fostering resilience.