31 January 2019

Malawi: AU to Host African Leadership Summit On Health

Blantyre, January, 31, 2019. African Union (AU) will next week host African leaders to a summit that will launch a new initiative that is aimed at increasing commitments on health and facilitating the pathway towards universal health care coverage.\

The summit will be in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

According to a media advisory on AU website, the summit dubbed: 'Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health', will be the first platform to bring together governments, the private sector and the global development partners.

According to the website, this is to coordinate and accelerate progress towards achieving universal health coverage.

"According to the 2018 WHO Global Health Expenditure Database, African countries are gradually increasing domestic investments in health with 35 out of 55 AU Member States (over 64 per cent) having increased percentage of their Gross Domestic Product invested in health over the previous financial year.

"These increased allocations have seen visible results in communities across Africa with shining examples of strengthened sub-national and national health systems," reads the statement in part.

However, the statement said while African countries have made huge strides in increasing domestic investments in health, only two out of the 55 AU Member States meet Africa's target of dedicating at least 15 per cent of the government budgetary allocation to health.

The statement further says most countries do not reach the suggested threshold of US$86.30 (K63, 000) per person required to provide a basic package of health care services.

"For the world's most youthful continent, the future growth and prosperity depends on developing and nurturing human capital," the media advisory website indicates.

"Nevertheless, more than half of Africa's population currently lack access to essential health services and millions die every year from commonly preventable diseases," the statement adds.

The meeting will be chaired by African Union Chairperson, President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

"Panellists to the summit include Heads of State and Government, AU Commission, senior leadership and key private sector leaders," it further says.

The new initiative has been designed to help deliver increased, sustained and more impactful financing for health across Africa, according to the AU.

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