H.E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohamed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission
Today, the African Union Commission joins the world to commemorate International Women’s Day in support of the invaluable contribution of powerful women serving in different leadership capacities in Africa, who are committed to ensuring that women and girls participate fully in economic activities, political affairs and social endeavours required for equitable access to healthcare and strong health systems in Africa.
The African Union Commission has dedicated a great deal of interest and concern to health equity and women leadership in Africa. The Africa Health Strategy (2016 – 2030) and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB, and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 serve as a testament to these key concerns as both policy frameworks prioritise investment in health, poverty reduction, economic development, and the advancement of women’s rights and equality. The AU Agenda 2063 and other gender-related strategic frameworks and treaties formulated by the African Union, explicitly call for “full gender equality in all spheres of life” including socio-economic development agendas in Africa.
health equity, in itself, is only achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential, and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. Empowering women to lead health systems strengthening has been identified as a critical driver to achieving health equity.
As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2021 under the theme: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” the Commission applauds how women in AU Member States have stood at the frontline of the battle with COVID-19 as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. Women leaders and women’s organizations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge, and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
Today, there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives, and skills to the table and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies, and laws that work better for all. The contribution of women is crucial in promoting good health in Africa. I encourage all partners and AU Member States to continue to empower and engage women constructively and equally for their support to improve primary health care strategies and implement health policies aimed at reducing health inequities.
In conclusion, I reiterate that the Commission recognizes that we are making great progress collectively towards empowering the women in Africa to lead and raise their voice for the issues that matter such as equity and quality healthcare. The Commission will continue to uplift women in leadership, and prepare young women for leadership as we all strive for better quality of life, prosperity and wellbeing for all in Africa.
I thank you