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Africa Union engages media on Domestic Financing for Health

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By Becky John

The Africa Union in collaboration with Global Fund, UNAIDS and UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network had organized a media roundtable on Tuesday, 14 July 2015, at the premises of the  African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

In his opening speech HE. Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission highlighted that “for the first time in the history of global health, Africa is mobilising more domestic resources than foreign development investments in health. In the last four years, African countries have increased their domestic resources to respond to HIV by 150 percent. Between 2006 and 2011 global domestic investment doubled spending on HIV, TB and malaria. In 2012, domestic spending for HIV from low-and middle-income countries represented 53 percent of all global HIV resources. This is anticipated to increase with the recent acceleration of commitments to universal health coverage.”

He acknowledged the media playing an important role in advocating for increased allocation of domestic resources to critical social service sectors. They influence both the public and policy agenda. Through agenda setting and advocacy the media can shape the discourse on domestic financing for health.

The meeting recognized that Africa have positive stories of the tremendous results that have been achieved on the continent through shared responsibility by African countries and global solidarity. Access to HIV treatment in Africa has increased more than 100-fold. In less than a decade 10 million people are now on treatment.  New HIV infections in Africa south of the Sahara declined by 33%. AIDS-related deaths in Africa south of the Sahara has declined by 30%. Increased political commitment and expanded funding have helped to reduce malaria incidence by 31% in Africa. An estimated 337 million malaria cases and 3 million deaths were averted in Africa. Malaria mortality rates have declined by 54% overall and by 58% among children. Africa’s TB treatment success rate reached 86% in 2013. In 2013 the case detection rate had slightly improved at 52%. Africa outpaced other regions in determining the HIV status of all people with TB.

Notable speakers in the meeting were;

  1. Mark Dybul, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
  2. Representative of Mr. Michel Sidibe, Executive Director, UNAIDS
  3. Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The meeting also explored how African governments can further increase Domestic Financing for Health by emphasising the urgency for accelerating innovative domestic financing for health.  Notable mechanisms that have been put in place include shifting existing budgets toward spending on the diseases or an alcohol or airline levy; new initiatives to diversity funding sources like boosting private sector commitments and increased global partnership and solidarity to ensure these needs are met.

Dr Aminu Magashi Garba publisher of Health Reporters was among the participants.

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