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Created at the Abuja 2001 Special Summit, AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is an entity of the African Union with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, accountability and resource mobilization efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030. AIDS Watch Africa’s efforts are predicated on the Heads of State and Government’s (HoSG) successive political commitments to prioritise AIDS, TB and Malaria (Abuja Declarations) and the broader health and development agenda.















Information about major political declarations by African Heads of State and Government on AIDS, TB and Malaria since 2001.

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Information about  major decisions on advocacy, resource mobilisation and  accountability by the AIDS Watch Africa Heads of State and Government and endorsed by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

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Key reports on the Annual AIDS Watch Africa Statutory Consultative Experts Meetings with key advocacy issues on AIDS, TB and Malaria and the broader health and development agenda for consideration by African Union Heads of State and Government.




Information about key United Nations Declarations on sustainable development and AIDS, TB and Malaria.

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29.01.2018 African leaders join forces to help end AIDS in children by 2030
African leaders join forces to help end AIDS in children by 2030
26.01.2018 Leaders urged to renew commitment to a malaria-free Africa
Leaders urged to renew commitment to a malaria-free Africa
31.12.2017 Country ownership and global health partnerships critical in achieving Universal Health Coverage
Country ownership and global health partnerships critical in achieving Universal Health Coverage
African leaders join forces to help end AIDS in children by 2030

African leaders join forces to help end AIDS in children by 2030

OAFLA and the African Union launch the ‘Free To Shine’ campaign that aims to help prevent new HIV infections and childhood deaths


Addis Ababa, 29th January 2018. The Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and the African Union have today launched ‘Free To Shine’, a new campaign that aims to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy. The campaign, launched during the OAFLA General Assembly, will unite people and organisations at local and global levels to advance healthcare delivery that will contribute to ending childhood AIDS. To achieve its goal, the campaign will first focus on 2020 global targets for the elimination of mother to child transmission as outlined in the African Union’s Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. These targets are aligned to global targets and commitments.


“While Africa has made unprecedented progress in responding to the AIDS epidemic, the response to childhood AIDS is lagging behind. To end the AIDS epidemic in Africa, we must act now to prioritise the use of knowledge and the implementation of tools that exist, to keep children AIDS-free and their mothers healthy. Preventing new HIV infections will transform Africa’s broader health and development agenda and provide our children with a healthy and hopeful future,” said Her Excellency Mrs Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and President of OAFLA.


There are up to 1.4 million children living with HIV in Africa south of the Sahara – this is over half of all children living with HIV globally.1,2 Children are at greater risk of the potentially fatal consequences of HIV than any other age group.1 Despite this, detection and treatment levels remain low.1,3 Of the total number of children living with HIV, around 50% are not receiving treatment,1,4 and of these untreated children 50% die before they are 2 years old.5 


“We cannot end AIDS by 2030 if we do not focus on women and children. The Free To Shine campaign will drive for increased investments to strengthen health systems and achieve maximum impact where the burden is highest.  The African Union is committed to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, which will lay a strong foundation for Africa’s Agenda 2063 for socio-economic development and structural transformation,” said Dr.  Marie-Goretti Harakeye, the Head of Division for AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases at the African Union Commission


The campaign aims to unite people and organisations from local to global levels, and support personal and collective understanding of the actions that can be taken to end childhood AIDS. The campaign will work to drive the effective delivery and use of healthcare services to keep mothers healthy, prevent mother to child transmission and ensure fast and effective identification and treatment of children infected by HIV.


The leading partners in the Free To Shine campaign have set out their campaign objectives as: 


• To improve maternal and childhood AIDS programmes across Africa by building networks and partnerships of key organisations and advocate for domestic and global resource mobilisation 

• To raise awareness of the childhood AIDS cycle of risk in Africa through mass media, publications, websites, meetings and other means

• To mobilise support for childhood AIDS programmes in Africa by working with high-level international forums such as UN General Assembly and its special sessions, G7 and G20 Summits and advocacy missions 

• To inform AU governance structures such as the Permanent Representatives Council, the Executive Council and the Assembly, AU Organs (Pan-African Parliament, NEPAD and APRM) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) & Regional Health Organisations (RHOs) on key issues related to childhood AIDS


For more information about the campaign, please visit  or follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @FreeToShineAfrica.  




For further information, please contact: 

African Media: Nardos Berhanu at; Tel:+251-115-508069 or Tawanda Chisango at; Tel: +251-934-167052.


Global Media: or

Tel: +44 (0) 207 492 1973


Notes to Editors


About the ‘Free To Shine’ Campaign

‘Free To Shine’ is a campaign to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy. Launched in January 2018 the campaign is led by OAFLA and the AU, with support from partners WHO, UNAIDS, Abbott, EGPAF, UNICEF, UNDP and AIDS Accountability International.


For more information about the ‘Free To Shine’ Campaign visit 


About Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS

Established in 2002 OAFLA brings together African First Ladies and various partners committed to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. OAFLA provides continent wide leadership advocating for policy and social change, engage in resource mobilisation efforts from the global, continental and national levels. Through First Ladies and other champions OAFLA drives action in the grassroots communities working with Africa’s most vulnerable including women and children infected and affected by the AIDS epidemic who also bear the brunt of poverty and social marginalisation.


For more information about the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) visit:


About the African Union

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens.  AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission. 


For more information about the African Union visit: 


Details of the African Union’s Catalytic Framework available here. 


Details of UNAIDS ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free’ available here. 



1. UNAIDS. On the fast-track to an AIDS-free generation. 2016. Available:

2. UNAIDS. Global HIV Statistics. Fact Sheet. 2017. Available:

3. UNAIDS. Ending AIDS. Progress towards the 90-90-90 targets. Global AIDS Update 2017. 2017 Available: 

4. UNICEF. Executive Summary. For every child end AIDS. Seventh Stocktaking Report, 2016. Available:

5. Newell, ML et al. Mortality of Infected and Uninfected Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers in Africa: A pooled analysis. The Lancet. 2004,364:1236–1243. Available:



Partner Statements



“All countries should eliminate Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis and ensure that every child has an HIV-free start to his or her life.”  


Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS



“As a global leader in diagnostics, Abbott strongly supports the important work of the First Ladies of Africa, African Union and partners, to mobilize resources and accelerate the fight to end AIDS in children by 2030. Early infant diagnosis that can be provided quickly and at the point of care – often in remote, resource-limited locations – is a critical intervention to prevent HIV infected infants from developing AIDS and allowing them to live long, healthy and productive lives.”  

Zeina Henaine, Social Responsibility Ambassador, Africa and Senior Regional Director for North and French Africa



“The ‘Free to Shine’ campaign is an important step in catalyzing action among government and community leaders towards ending AIDS among an underserved and often forgotten population – children. EGPAF shares the campaign’s mission to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, so infants can be born and stay free of the virus. It is critical to ensure both mothers and children with HIV have access to the lifesaving medicines they need to live healthy productive lives and achieve their dreams. This campaign will be a game changer on the African continent by prioritizing and accelerating the pace towards achieving an AIDS-free generation.” 

Chip Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation 



“We have seen tremendous progress in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, but the ultimate success requires continued and scaled up investment, political will and sustained service delivery. Collective effort to achieve an HIV-free generation is required now, more than ever before.”

Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa


Leaders urged to renew commitment to a malaria-free Africa


Leaders urged to renew commitment to a malaria-free Africa

Addis Ababa/Geneva, 26 January 2018 – African nations must renew their commitment and strengthen instruments to attain a malaria-free Africa by 2030, leaders heard today at a high-level briefing held on the margins of the 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Senior health, finance and foreign affairs officials from across the continent were briefed on the latest findings from the World Health Organization (WHO)’s World Malaria Report 2017 signaling that, for the first time in more than a decade, progress against malaria on the African continent, which accounts for almost 90% of the global malaria burden, has stalled. 

“Malaria alone is estimated to rob the continent of US$12 billion per year in lost productivity, investment and associated health care costs. It is therefore critical that we sustain the political commitment, as articulated in our continental Agenda 2063, to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030 through increased domestic financing, increased access to life-saving malaria interventions, as well as more robust health systems,” said H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

African leaders have committed to eliminating malaria by 2030, as articulated in the Continental development Agenda 2063. Malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, already costs the African continent’s economy US$ 12 billion per year in direct losses, and 1.3% of lost annual GDP growth, an earlier report by the RBM Partnership, Action and Investment to defeat Malaria, has shown. 

According to the World Malaria Report 2017, progress across Africa has been uneven, putting at risk the tremendous progress to-date and African leaders’ collective ambition to end the disease. While some African countries have seen a greater than 20% increase in malaria cases and deaths since 2016, others are showing that beating malaria is possible.

“In 2016, just 15 countries carried most of the global malaria burden, together accounting for 80% of all malaria cases and deaths. All but one of these countries are in Africa,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “The report sends a clear warning that we have stopped making progress and that, without urgent action, we risk going backwards.”  WHO used the occasion to launch a World Malaria Report 2017 mobile app that provides, at the swipe of a finger, the latest information on malaria policies, financing, interventions and burden in 91 endemic countries.

“African countries are at greatest risk of losing the significant gains made over a decade and must renew efforts to make fighting malaria a priority. Domestic funding needs to be urgently stepped up. These investments — only a fraction of what African nations will save if we succeed in eliminating malaria — will pay off, in millions more lives saved, health systems strengthened, economies grown and the world back on track to end this disease,” said Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

Participants also heard that high-burden countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which account for 27% and 10% of the global malaria cases, respectively, also face significant gaps in financing their malaria efforts over the next three years. Nigeria faces a financial gap of US$ 1.4 billion, equivalent to 68% of the country’s needs, whereas DRC requires an additional US$ 536 million to fully implement its national malaria strategic plan. Alternatively, several African countries that have stepped up their efforts, such as Senegal and Madagascar, have achieved a greater than 20% decrease in malaria cases in 2016, according to the World Malaria Report 2017.



For more information contact:

Media in Addis Ababa:
Mr Tawanda Chisango, African Union Commission, or +251 96 692 4099
Ms Xenya Scanlon, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, or +41 79 520 3637

International media:

RBM Partnership at Grayling on or call +44 (0) 20 3861 3747


Notes to Editors


About the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is the largest global platform for coordinated action against malaria. Originally established as Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership in 1998, it mobilises for action and resources and forges consensus among partners. The Partnership is comprised of more than 500 partners, including malaria endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, nongovernmental and community based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions.

The World Malaria Report 2017  is available at: The app is available for download from the Apple app store (for iPads and iPhones). A version of the app for users of Android devices will be made available in February. More information on the targets of the WHO Global Technical Strategy can be found here:



Country ownership and global health partnerships critical in achieving Universal Health Coverage


Country ownership and global health partnerships critical in achieving Universal Health Coverage

By Tawanda Chisango1

Political and global health leaders meeting mid-December on the sidelines of the universal health coverage meeting in Tokyo discussed pathways to strengthen country led efforts supported by global partnerships to achieve universal health coverage. While the meeting focused on the imperative for country ownership, domestic health financing and sustained leadership and commitment for equitable health and universal health coverage, it underscored the importance of global health partnerships in Africa’s health agenda. Global health partnerships are a cornerstone for universal health coverage hence the event sought to highlight the contribution of these partnerships in moving the universal health coverage agenda forward. Here are the key takeaways from the meeting on how global health partnerships are shaping the health agenda in Africa.

What do global health partnerships entail?

Global health partnerships are entities that were established in the 21st century to undertake focused efforts to address global health challenges. They bring together governments, civil society, international organisations, the private sector and affected communities and advance multi-sectoral efforts to streamline health cooperation with a focus on specific health issues. Their goal is to achieve health improvements that no organisation could achieve alone. The Global Fund and GAVI represent examples of global health partnerships, along with others such as Stop TB Partnership, Roll Back Malaria, UNAIDS and many others.

With clear health mandates, these innovative public-private partnerships contribute to remarkable epidemiological impact by reducing the prevalence and incidence of major diseases of global health importance. At the same time, they also bring substantial effect to countries’ national health systems. These institutions play a central and critical role in translating global goals into effective investment strategies, saving millions of lives and successfully altering the trajectory of epidemics.

What does it take to achieve Universal Health Coverage?

Achieving universal health coverage requires a portfolio of investments in both hardware and software elements of a public health system. This includes ensuring that the health workforce is enhanced, ensuring that motivated, productive and fit for purpose health workers, health infrastructure, medical products and technologies are put in place. Furthermore improved service delivery to ensure rational and effective delivery of essential interventions to maintain health and health governance to establish facilitative mechanisms for making policies and promoting accountability are equally critical. Health information, research and innovation and health financing are also essential components for achieving the universal health coverage agenda.

Optimising health financing is central to making effective progress towards universal health coverage and in particular to reducing the gap between the need for and use of services and improving financial protection. While private funds play a role in all health systems, evidence shows that it is public, compulsory, pre-paid financing that helps countries move towards universal health coverage. Low levels of public financing are associated with reduced overall financial protection and worsened health outputs.

What panelists said about universal health coverage

‘We cannot achieve the sustainable development goals if we do not address the universal health coverage agenda and end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other new emergencies. Senegal is moving towards universal health coverage and has already made remarkable progress. In 2015, the government set up the universal health insurance agency (CMU Agency) and in 2017 the budget allocation for health was raised to nearly 25 billion CFA francs’ - Dr. Bocar Mamadou Daff, Senegal Ministry of Health.

‘Kenya is committed to implementing health system reforms to accelerate movement towards universal health coverage and realize the right to health. The health system reforms target improvements in availability of health infrastructure, training, health information management and equitable health financing systems’ -Dr. Cleopa Mailu, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kenya.

‘In the Sudan, there has been a strong commitment to protect citizens from catastrophic health expenditures to ensure healthier communities and a stronger and more resilient economy. In early 2016 the Sudanese government passed a new law that mandates that every citizen has access to health insurance and care services without facing financial risk’ said Dr. Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, Minister of Health of the Sudan.

‘To harness the demographic dividend and achieve the socio-economic and structural transformation of Africa’s Agenda 2063, it is clear that health has to be put at the centre. The AU is implementing the Africa Health Strategy for the next 15 years to achieve universal health coverage through promoting social protection, ensuring access to quality assured and affordable medicines, health financing, human resources for health, improved governance and accountability and multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships’ - Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye, African Union Commission.

 ‘Investments made by the Global Fund have expanded access to essential health services and advanced universal health coverage by helping countries provide equitable and financially accessible health services to the most vulnerable’ - Dr. Marijke Wijnroks, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

 ‘Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, welcomes the international community’s commitment to universal health coverage. Immunisation is a well-defined first step towards this goal and can pave way for other free-of-charge, prevention focused services to reach populations through the public health systems. Immunisation is a starting point for building primary health care and public health system core capacities. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance will continue to accelerate innovations, implemented at scale to contribute to Universal Health Coverage’ - Marie-Ange Saraka-Yao, GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance.

1 The writer manages the health communication portfolio in the Department of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.