The importance of national funding for health in Africa

20141014_morocco_632To raise the funds needed to achieve transformative impact against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and other diseases, partners are coming together in a spirit of shared responsibility. Governments, the private sector, private foundations, individuals and implementing countries can each play a part.


On 13 October, partners from UNAIDS, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Union, African Development Bank and the Global Fund gathered in Marrakech, Morocco to examine and discuss this issue. Organized at the side lines of the African Development Forum, the meeting focused on urging low and middle income countries to raise more domestic finances for health. Participants called for a new paradigm in health financing.


Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, gave the keynote address and said that as more and more low income countries transition into the middle income status, they should reconsider their investments in health. In the same spirit of shared responsibility and solidarity, Sidibé said, rich nations should also maintain their commitments to financing health programs.


Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said that investments in health form a critical pillar of economic growth and should be strongly linked to other sectors. Unless Africa focuses on health in its totality, the continent cannot achieve economic transformation. "Health is at the heart of development," he said.


Itai Rusike of African Civil Society Platform made a passionate call for a country-level movement of partners for domestic financing for health made up of the civil society, parliamentarians, private sector and all other stakeholders. Such an effort, coupled with stronger governance mechanisms, would mean great African solutions to African health, he said.


Shu-Shu Tekle-Haimanot, Senior Specialist for Advocacy and Partnerships at the Global Fund, said the Marrakech meeting was a significant step toward better health in Africa. “Partnerships hold the key to progress,” she said. “With implementing countries leading the way, this partnership can achieve our goals of raising funds and saving many lives.”


14 October 2014