By Haruna Gimba
The African Union Heads of States said it welcomes the on-going efforts of Member States to strengthen health systems in line with the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.
In a statement issued by the AIDS Watch Africa, the leaders urges member states to further pursue initiatives to build strong Human Resources for Health (HRH) including harnessing the role of Community Health Workers (CHWs). They endorsed the two million CHWs initiative and requests UNAIDS, WHO, and other partners to support and facilitate its implementation;
The statement applauded the significant progress made in the reduction of mortality and new rates of HIV infection and recognizes the importance to address the unmet needs of young people and adolescents so as to harness the demographic dividend. “We are concerned that the West and Central Africa region is lagging behind and the urgent need to address hepatitis B co-infection.
Therefore, we need a catch up plan to accelerate the HIV response,” part of the statement read. It also commended member states who have pledged support to the 5th Global Fund Replenishment and encouraged others to contribute to the fund;
The leaders expressed concern that TB, a concomitant infection of HIV continues to lag behind in terms of investments and response and called on the member states to increase coverage and access to services for detection and treatment of TB, Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) particularly for people living with HIV, children and mine workers.
They commended efforts towards the implementation of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA) and its Business Plan including plans to establish a Fund for African Pharmaceutical Development (FAP-D) and the progress being made towards the establishment of the African Medicines Agency.
“We endorses the AWA Strategic Framework (2016-2030) and request the African Union Commission to work with partners and member states to expeditiously facilitate its implementation,” the statement added.
The leaders reaffirmed their commitments to the Abuja 15 per cent target on domestic financing for health and requests the AU to continue to produce the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health annually to monitor progress.
They also requested the Chairperson of the AU Assembly, President Alpha Condé, to engage relevant partners, particularly the G20 in support of strengthening Human Resources for Health in Africa including the 2 million Community Health Initiative and urges the AU, in collaboration with UNAIDS, WHO and other partners to support the countries efforts to implement the initiative and report yearly on progress.