The African Union Commission convened global and regional health leaders, National Heads of States, and Governments in Addis Ababa on the 9th February 2019 for the African Leadership Meeting (ALM) – Investing in Health. A crucial outcome of the meeting was the AU Assembly Decision Assembly/AU/20(XXXII): “Addis Ababa Commitment toward Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for Increased Health Financing Declaration”. The Declaration, otherwise known as the ALM Declaration, is an initiative geared towards increasing domestic resources for health and reorienting health systems in Africa. As Africa tackles the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now more evident than ever that underfunding health is a persistent problem in African countries, resulting in weak health systems and gaps in service delivery.
Prioritizing health financing needs to be the standard and not a means to an end in the wake of a crisis. Thus, it is important to strengthen high-level advocacy for implementing the ALM Declaration among policymakers and global health leaders in Africa. The endorsement of the Declaration by Heads of State and Government of African Union (AU) the Member States is a fit baseline for the strong stance of their recognition for the need to improve the health financing status quo in Africa by investing increased domestic funds for health more effectively and efficiently. However, the commitment has to be reinforced, and the conversation sustained. High-level advocacy on the ALM Declaration is conducted through the AIDS Watch Africa Secretariat hosted within the AU Commission’s Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development.
In this context, the AU Commission organised six sessions of a podcast series to strengthen the awareness of the ALM Declaration and its mandate amongst members of the press, through whom the citizens of Africa will be informed, and leaders held accountable. The activity was conducted in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.