AU Experts deliberate on priority actions to end AIDS, TB and Malaria as public health threats by 2030 Support initiative to recruit 2 million community health workers to improve community health delivery systems
Conakry, 17 May 2017- Ahead of the meeting of African Heads of State and Government on 3 July 2017, experts working in AIDS, TB and Malaria adopted the AIDS Watch Africa Strategic Framework last week. The new strategy will further strengthen AIDS Watch Africa as the Heads of State and Government level continental vehicle for joint action, advocacy and accountability towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Heads of State will roll out this strategy within the framework of the Africa Health Strategy and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 adopted by African leaders in July 2016 at the Kigali Summit. These frameworks provide a clear policy direction for strengthening health systems and achieve universal health coverage.
“We are now in a new era for global health and development where Africa is increasing commitments to transform health systems, build community resilience and contribute to better health outcomes through increased investments in health” said Hon. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health of Guinea.
Urgent need to accelerate efforts to end AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030
While there has been significant progress in the reduction of deaths and new rates of HIV infection, the West and Central Africa region is lagging behind. An emergency plan is needed urgently to accelerate the HIV response. Furthermore, despite the progress made, deaths and new infection rates remain high among young people especially young girls and women and more concerted efforts and investments are needed to address the their unmet needs. The situation is made worse by under investments in tuberculosis that have hampered efforts for increased coverage and access to services for detection and treatment. Furthermore, the gains against malaria are fragile and require additional investments for antimalarial drug and insecticide resistance monitoring, giving priority to surveillance, detection and response.
“Addressing the broader health agenda is a catalyst for inclusive economic growth and development. However under investments in health threaten Africa’s demographic dividend, an enabler for the achievement of Agenda 2063’s socio-economic development and structural transformation aspirations” said Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun, the Director for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.
The Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health adopted last year is a critical tool that countries have started using to track progress in health financing including monitoring progress towards meeting the ambitious 15% Abuja target and donor commitments. Efforts are currently ongoing to institutionalise regular, systematic and routine annual implementation of National Health Accounts that will improve the quality of data on health financing in Member States.
Enhancing improved delivery systems at the community level
With better diagnostics, medicines, information and systems there is need to mobilise community workers and train them to play an important role to end epidemics. The Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the recent resurgence of Malaria in Namibia and Mozambique, Lassa fever and Meningitis in Nigeria and Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo demonstrates that new threats will continue to emerge. Engaging at the community level to prevent, manage and respond quickly to emergency disease outbreaks is thus a clear priority.
“We need to transform the interface between the last service provider and the community to better manage health risks. Creating a working sub-system of health with paid community health workers will transform our health architecture” said Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, ‘We cannot achieve set targets if we do not build strong and well trained human resources for health” he added.
UNAIDS and partners are driving an initiative to recruit 2 million paid community health workers to improve community health delivery systems.
African Union Heads of State and Government commit to accelerate the implementation of International Health Regulations
Addis Ababa, 4 July 2017- Heads of State and Government meeting adopted the Declaration on Accelerating Implementation of International Health Regulations in Africa. The Declaration seeks to address the increasing public health events and recurrent epidemics on the continent and their huge socio-economic impact. Many African countries have not adequately implemented International Health Regulations to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of diseases.
“A fundamental part of a government’s basic duty is to protect its citizens against health insecurity, risks and emergencies, it is therefore important that AU Member States meet the International Health Regulations core capacities in disease outbreak prevention, preparedness and response” said Her Excellency Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.
African Heads of State and Government committed in the Declaration to accelerate the implementation of International Health Regulations at national, provincial and local levels with a clear roadmap and monitoring mechanisms. They further committed to mobilise resources and put in place multi-sectoral mechanisms to accelerate its implementation.
The Declaration tasks the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, African Union Commission, World Health Organisation and other stakeholders to work together to provide the necessary technical support to Member States to accelerate implementation. The Declaration further directs the African Union Commission, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organisation to report on its implementation within the context of the collaborative framework for improving health security in Africa. The Declaration directs these key players to submit a biennial report on the implementation of the regulations to the Assembly.
Ahead of the Assembly the Executive Council of the African Union endorsed the decision to allocate 0.5% of the AU annual operational budget to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with partners to further strengthen International Health Regulations core capacities and improve health security in Africa.
AU congratulates Dr Tedros Adhanom on historic win as first WHO Director-General from Africa
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 23 May 2017: The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, warmly congratulates Dr Tedros Adhanom on his election as the first ever Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) from the African region.
“The world has chosen a consummate global health statesman with a strong track record of embedding global public health and health security as a vital cornerstone of human development,” said H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission.
Dr Adhanom emerged victorious in a tough election against two strong candidates; Dr Sania Nishtar from Pakistan and Dr David Nabarro from the United Kingdom.
Dr Adhanom was recently at the helm of drafting The African Union Agenda 2063, which represents the strategic framework guiding Africa’s development priorities for the next fifty years (), while serving as Chair of the Executive Council of the AU.
H.E. Mahamat wishes Dr Tedros a successful tenure at the helm of WHO robustly working towards a better, healthier future for all people around the globe. The AU Commission affirms its support of Dr Tedros’s priorities which include WHO reform; universal health coverage; health security; women, child and adolescent health; and the health impacts of climate and environmental change.
The AU Commission Chairperson also thanks African Ministers of health for their united and steadfast support for Dr Tedros during the campaign. When Africa speaks with one voice, she wins.