The 2019 Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) is holding in Rwanda.
This year's event is aimed at driving progress for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on the continent.
The three-day event started on Monday at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda.
Themed '2030 Now: Multi-sectoral Action to Achieve Universal Health Coverage in Africa', the event is co-hosted by Amref Health Africa and the Ministry of Health of Rwanda.
According to organizers, this is the largest African-led health conference assembling on the continent with over 1,500 participants expected.
Those in attendance include scientists, practitioners and advocates as well as political leaders, the private sector and the media.
They will discuss the most important health challenges and advancements in Africa and co-create home-grown solutions.
The Development Research and Project Centre (DRPC) in collaboration with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPPS), is leading the Nigerian delegation at the conference.
DRPC is a leading NGO under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health at Scale. PACFaH@Scale aims to strengthen the capacities of indigenous CSO to hold policy decision-makers accountable in terms of to their financial commitments to the people.
Universal Health Coverage is central to the principles of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of leaving no one behind. Its benefit goes beyond ensuring good health for populations. It also contributes to a reduction in poverty, gender equity, social economic growth, and human capital development of any society.
It was to achieve UHC in Africa that brought about 'the Abuja Declaration', a commitment made 18 years ago on funding of healthcare by heads of state of member countries of the African Union (AU).
The African leaders had pledged at least 15 per cent of their annual budgets to enhance the health sectors of their various countries. However, this is yet to become a reality.
Since the declaration, Nigeria that hosted the conference in 2001 has not attained the pledged funding benchmark as the federal government has never voted more than six per cent of its annual budget to the health sector.
The highest percentage since the declaration was in 2012 when 5.95% of the budget was allotted to health.
This year's event promises to address the challenges of achieving UHC and more issues in engaging settings - from main plenaries and partner-led side sessions to scientific workshops and youth-led innovation forums.
Specific areas of focus for the conference will include communicable and non-communicable diseases; health in fragile settings; water, sanitation and hygiene; sexual and reproductive health and rights; innovation and technology; and accountability for health.
Organisers said the conference will serve as the "go-to forum for African leaders to map how new research, innovation and political commitments will help drive Africa's UHC progress over the next decade."
PREMIUM TIMES will bring extensive coverage of the event.