African countries urged to increase domestic healthcare expenditure

by Ronald Njoroge 25th Jan 2019

NAIROBI, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) — African lawmakers and civil society organizations on Friday urged governments to increase domestic healthcare expenditure in order to end life-threatening epidemics such as HIV, malaria and Tuberculosis (TB).

Stephen Mule, Kenyan legislator and chair of the Africa Parliamentary TB Caucus, told a health forum in Nairobi that African countries have not yet prioritized the health sector in their budgets.

“On average African governments health budgets are less than 1 percent of their gross domestic products (GDP) against an ideal figure of five percent,” Mule said during the Conference on Raising Resources for Kenya’s Health Pillar Under Agenda Four.

The day-long event brought together African civil society organizations and parliamentarians to share their views on how Kenya can raise resources to deliver universal healthcare to all its citizens by 2022.

Mule also noted that most African states are yet to fulfill the 2001 Abuja Declaration where African Union member countries pledged to allocate at least 15 percent of their budgets to the health sector.

He added that most of the funding for health in Africa comes from foreign donors, a situation that is not sustainable in the long run.

The parliamentarian said that rich countries are also facing pressures from their citizens to reduce overseas development assistance to poor countries.

Rosemary Mburu, executive director of WACI Health, said that Africa should embrace innovative measures to enhance domestic resource mobilization to fund the health sector.

Mburu said that Africa should prioritize the health sector due to its significant influence on national development.

Olivia Ngou, global coordinator for Civil Society for Malaria Elimination, said that in October 2019, the international community will come together in Lyon, France, to raise funds for the sixth replenishment of Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Ngou said that African countries are key beneficiaries of the global fund and should strongly support this international effort to raise more funds for the global fund.