The World Health Organisation's first Africa health forum concluded in Kigali Wednesday with commitments to achieving universal health coverage (UHC).
The two-day forum attracted over 700 delegates from a wide range of backgrounds, including academics, governments, intergovernmental agencies, academics, civil society, philanthropic foundations, private sector and youth organisations.
The forum, held under the theme, "Putting people first: The Road to Universal Health Coverage in Africa" is set to be a biennial platform to engage key stakeholders in reviewing progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A "Call-to-Action" read at the closing ceremony included commitment and appeals reached by the delegates.
The participants committed in keeping UHC as the overarching approach for attaining SDG3 of ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages, strengthening health workforce development and sustainability, including community health workers to deliver quality health services, building, re-orienting and re-aligning health systems towards UHC and so on.
They also called upon African governments to provide leadership and stewardship for actions aimed at creating consultative planning platforms and regulatory frameworks for the attainment of UHC, to increase domestic investments, to mobilise and coordinate all stakeholders for a common purpose, to forge partnerships with bilateral and multilateral agencies, the private sector and civil society, and to monitor and report progress.
The delegates also called on other players like WHO, the African Union Commission, and the private sector to support the health sector in Africa.
"We recognise that the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development provides a unique opportunity for repositioning primary prevention in health service delivery and it is also an ideal platform for catalysing inter-sectoral engagement and action," said WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti at the closing ceremony.
"I'm also gratified by commitment to stronger collaboration and engagement among all stakeholders behind the goal of achieving UHC to ensure and improve financial protection for the vulnerable people in Africa," she said.