Africa Civil Society Urge African Leaders to Significantly Increase Investments in Health

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We health advocates in Africa convened by Africa free of New HIV infections (AfNHi) in collaboration with the African Civil Society Platform for Health (CISPHA) and the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN – Africa) met on 8-9 February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to deliberate on domestic financing to advance HIV prevention research and development. 

While tremendous progress has been made in global health over the last several decades, millions of people in Africa still die each day from preventable diseases and other health challenges including HIV. There is an urgent need to accelerate scientific breakthroughs and health innovations to deliver new tools for health.

We applaud the African Heads of state under the able leadership of H.E Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, for launching a New Continental Initiative aimed at increasing commitments for health – ‘the African Leadership Meeting’.

The greatest driver of the African economy is neither its natural resources nor physical infrastructure, but human capital. While we appreciate that the benefits of investing in people can take a long time to be realized, financing health boosts productivity, saves money and leads to economic growth.

We further recognize that Africa cannot make significant and sustained health progress against existing and emerging health threats using current technologies alone. Africa must innovate and invest in research to develop new vaccines, drugs, diagnostic and other health tools.

We are concerned that the commitment by our governments to increase domestic financing for health to 5% of GDP has not yet been realized. Fifty-three out of 55 AU member states have not yet met Africa’s target of dedicating at least 15% of the government budget to health, according to the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health (2018).

Twenty-six African countries committed to allocate at least 2% of budgets of ministries of health to research in 2008 (the Bamako Declaration). This is yet another commitment that has not been realized.

As the first Africa Leadership Meeting on Investing in Health takes off, we call upon our leaders to:

1.       Implement mechanisms that will significantly increase public health investments fulfilling the commitment to invest at least 5% of GDP to health.

2.       Finance health research and innovation in line with the commitment to invest at least 2% of national health budgets to health research and development.

3.       Ensure increased efficiencies and effectiveness of available resources for health.

As civil society, we commit to play our role through constructive engagement with all stakeholders as well as accountability on how health is governed and delivered in Africa.