CategoriesBlog GFAN Africa

Investing in healthcare key to boost progress of women

On International Women’s Day (IWD), we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. As we mark IWD 2019, we toast to women’s achievements – at home, at work and in our communities, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, workers, citizens and leaders. The theme of this year is #BalanceforBetter. A balanced world is indeed a better world. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. In fact, gender balanced communities and institutions are more prosperous.

Kenya has made commendable strides in women’sempowerment. For example, our country has the highest number of women serving on company boards in Africa at 19.8 per cent, above the global average of 15 per cent, according to a report by the International Finance Corporation. Twenty six percent of the Cabinet is made up of women.

These achievements are admirable, yet with room for improvement. Progress has been painstakingly slow and is a sign of resilience and strong – will in our society which is laced with unacceptable inequalities in health, education, leadership and at the work place. More than half of Kenya’s population is female. Investing in the well-being of women, then, is investing in the good of more than half of the population. It’s no brainer then, that nations must invest in women to make sustainable progress.

Key to investing in women is, investing in their health. Womenbear the brunt of dysfunctional healthcare systems. More women than men in Kenya are victims of gender based violence. Gender-based prejudices, violence, discrimination and inequalities not only violate rights of women but also impact their health and wellbeing. Women are caregivers and almost all the time take care of the sick and bear the emotional burden of providing care in inefficient and challenging healthcare environments.

According to WHO, gender requires us to ensure health policy, programmes, services and delivery models are responsive to the needs of women, men, girls and boys in all their diversity.
Like many women in sub-Saharan Africa, women in Kenya are disproportionately affected by diseases such as HIV. Worth noting is that gender-based violence and HIV are strongly entangled. In 2016, 34,000 adult women were infected with HIV, compared to 22,000 adult men, and adult women accounted for 910,000 of the 1.6 million people living with HIV in the country. Women also face challenges with sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as limited access to family planning, as well as stigma and discrimination.

As health advocates in Kenya, we commend President Uhuru Kenyatta for rolling out Universal Healthcare Coverage a component of health – one of the Big 4 agenda. We are grateful too, for the linda mama maternity package. These investments in health when fully rolled out will ensure that all Kenyans have access to quality healthcare without getting into financial hardships and sinking into poverty when they pay for healthcare services. This then requires the provision of adequate resources for health. We are asking the Government to allocate more funds for health – at least 5 per cent of GDP.

Further, forming partnerships with the private sector, and urging donors to contribute to international health funding initiatives such as the Global Fund whose 6th replenishment is scheduled for October 2019 will provide the much needed resources for investments in health for womenand indeed, for all Kenyans.
Increasing investments in health is good for the economy. It will enable Kenya realise the social pillar of Vision 2030 which aims to improve quality of life for all Kenyans through the roll out of human and social welfare projects and programmes in key sectors such as health. Further, the investments will enhance the roadmap to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health and wellbeing as well as Goal 5 on gender equality.

As we celebrate women’s achievements, each one of us is called to action. Especially to resist traditional ideas about the roles of girls and women which are detrimental to their health and restrict their contributions to society. We must take personal responsibility to accelerate gender balance by being sensitive to inequalities, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. It starts with you and me.


WACI Health Champions

Nay Maps a South African actor and Fahe Kerubo a Kenya youthful human rights defender have been appointed as Champions to work with WACI Health for the next one year. The duo will support GFAN Africa’s advocacy work especially in ensuring a fully funded Global Fund and urging Governments to allocate more domestic resources for health.

In her own words, Fahe said “I am honoured and it’s a privilege to have been chosen as a champion” She is eager, optimistic and excited to work with WACI Health.

Nay Maps a South African actor is delighted and is looking forward to working with WACI Health and positively impact society.

In his own words, Nay said “I feel honored and responsible for Global Health Awareness and I stand for Universe Health Coverage and believe that through this platform, more lives will be informed and saved and educated…which therefore means that diseases decrease and begin to be eradicated and healthy living is promoted.”

At WACI Health, we are excited to have these two champions on board and look forward to running successful campaigns with them.




African Governments Asked to Allocate More Resources for Health

Health advocates in Africa brought together by Africa free of New HIV infections (AfNHi) in collaboration with the African Civil Society Platform for Health (CISPHA) and the Global Fund Advocates Network (GFAN – Africa) met on the 8th February 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Participants discussed funding health research and development, domestic resources for health and the 6th replenishment of the Global Fund.


This civil society meeting was on the side lines of the first-ever platform Africa Leadership Meeting on Investing in Health held to discuss resources for health to accelerate universal healthcare coverage. Only 2 out of the 55 AU member states have dedicated the recommended government budget, at least 15%, to health.  This, according to the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health (2018) fails to meet the suggested threshold of $86.30 per person required to provide a basic package of health services. In the 2008 Bamako Declaration, 26 African countries made commitments to allocate at least 2% of their ministry of health budget to research – a commitment which has not been realized.


The health advocates noted that the greatest driver of the Africa’s economies is human capital. Financing health will boost productivity, save money and lead to economic growth. While remarkable developments have been made in global health, many people in Africa still die each day from preventable diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria. At the meeting, the health advocates pledged to continue playing their role through constructive engagement with all stakeholders Read More Here as well as ensure accountability on how health is governed and delivered in Africa.

Increasing domestic resources for health is key to achieving SDG 3 on the health and wellbeing of all and to achieve the 10 year action plan of the Africa Union Commission’s Agenda 2063. Healthy nations are indeed prosperous nations.


Love More, Give more

On 14th February – Valentine’s Day, communities and civil society organizations in over 45 countries sent “love letters” to embassies and high commissions of donor countries to appreciate their support to the Global Fund.  Since its establishment in 2002, the Global Fund has disbursed a total of over US$ 40.2 billion and saved over 27 million lives affected by the three epidemics.

Rosemary Mburu presented a letter and roses to the EU Commission in Kenya
Photo Credit: GFAN Africa
Angela and Jacqueline presented a letter and roses to H.E. Mrs Aline Kuster-Menager, Ambassador of France to Kenya Photo Credit: GFAN Africa


Representatives of Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV presented flowers and a thank you letter to the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda H.E. Per Lindgarde
Photo Credit: GFAN Africa


The Valentine’s day campaign was coordinated by GFAN Asia Pacific. Countries presented thank you letters and flowers to Embassies, High Commissions and Governments for their contributions to the Global Fund while urging them to contribute more during the 2019 6th replenishment. Special thank you letters were presented to the Embassies of Ireland to the India High Commissions. We thanked Ireland for pledging towards this year’s replenishment and appreciated India for hosting the pre-replenishment conference in February.  13 countries in Africa participated in this very successful campaign.

The 6th Replenishment of the Global Fund will take place on 10th October in Lyon, France. It will be another opportunity for Global Fund donors and implementing countries to demonstrate their continued commitment in scaling up work to defeat HIV/AIDS, TB & Malaria.

A lot of progress has been made, yet, the world is not on track to end HIV, TB and malaria as epidemics by 2030. The Global Fund fundraising target of US$14 billion, for the next three-year cycle (2020-2022), is significantly lower than the estimate in the GFAN Report “Get Back on Track” of US$16.8 – US$18 billion. There is huge concern that the US$14 billion target will only maintain current levels of programming and will not enable us to step up the fight!

GFAN Africa and health advocates, strongly call on governments and donors to: demonstrate their political will by making early and increased pledges for the 6th replenishment as well as fulfilling their previous commitments. . An increased and fully funded replenishment will enable the Global Fund to help countries accelerate progress toward universal health coverage. Health advocates are also asking African governments to commit 5% of their GDP towards health to ensure successful, life-saving interventions.

Copyright © 2023 WACI HEALTH. All Rights Reserved. Designed By Pinch Africa.