5 March 2019

Africa: Universal Health Coverage - Rwanda Urges African Govts to Fund Healthcare

Photo: Sue Valentine/AllAfrica
Nomsa and her daughter, Linomtha in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa (file photo).

Rwanda's Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba, has called on Africa's heads of governments to collaborate towards healthcare financing.

Gashumba made the call at the ongoing Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2019 (Africa Health 2019) holding in Kigali, Rwanda.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the confab, co-hosted by Amref Health Africa and Rwanda's Ministry of Health, she said, "Investing in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is one of the smartest investments a country can make."

She added: "In the past two decades, African countries have displayed commendable leadership in furthering the UHC agenda across the continent.

"We must ensure that this movement is sustained through greater domestic investments in healthcare and that all ministries and stakeholders do their part."

Describing health as the most fundamental human rights on which all other rights can be enjoyed, with Universal health coverage has its guarantee, Group CEO at Amref Health Africa, Dr. Githinji Gitahi, said, "Globally, there is growing consensus on the need to universalise access to quality health care - both as a path to economic development and because it is the right thing to do.

"Going forward, we need to galvanise political will at the highest levels of government, mobilise greater resources to eliminate catastrophic health costs, and invest in community-led interventions."

The three-day conference, which ends on March 7, will focus on scientific tracks, roundtables, interactive workshops, and high-level symposia on tuberculosis, malaria and health in fragile and conflict-affected states, among others.

The conference will include plenary on UHC financing UHC and increase access and quality of health services.

There will also be presentations on technological innovations that are rapidly changing the face of the sector as well as the launch of a new initiative advocating for gender equality in health leadership in Africa, among others.

Some 1,200 participants from more than 35 countries, including health ministers, private sector leaders, civil society and representatives from multilateral organisations will be joining hands to chart a roadmap to achieve UHC across Africa by 2030, at the confab.

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