On 4 December 2019, on the sidelines of ICASA, WACI Health in partnership with GFAN Africa and civil society partners organized a meeting at the Marriott Hotel, in Kigali, Rwanda to discuss sustainable health financing in Africa. The meeting was opened by Honorable Dr Nyemazi Jean Pierre the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health in Rwanda who welcomed participants to the meeting on behalf of Dr Diane Gashumba, the Minister for Health. Dr Nyemazi emphasized Rwanda’s commitment to health, noting that Rwanda’s UHC coverage is at 95% as he urged other countries in Africa to invest more domestic resources so that the continent achieves the desired health outcomes.
In his remarks, Hon Yoweri Ssebekali, a Member of Parliament in Uganda & Member of Uganda TB Caucus emphasized the need for Governments to take ownership of the health of their citizens. By investing more domestic resources, and allocating these resources where there will be the biggest impact. He stressed the need for a strong focus in primary healthcare.
Shu-Shu Tekle Haimanot of the Global Fund Secretariat, Maurine Murenga of the Lean on Me Foundation and Dr. Marrie Goretti in their remarks underscored that domestic resources for health are key to ensuring everyone has access to effective, efficient and affordable healthcare whenever they need it.
Civil society then presented a statement to Dr Nyemazi, articulating the need to make further progress to defeat HIV and to sustain the gains made to date. “African Governments particularly, must urgently address HIV within the context of health and even more broadly in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to ensure the health and wellbeing for all. Broadly in the sense that Governments must address health in the context of non – health dynamics which affect health such as education and climate change. For example, globally, almost 60% of new HIV infections among 15-24 year olds were contracted by adolescent girls and young women. Investing in the education of girls, and keeping them in school will significantly keep them healthy”. Read the statement.
Further, civil society noted that “we are at a point in time when donor funding for health in Africa is shrinking. In the absence of adequate funding for health, citizens in African countries have to pay for healthcare services from their pockets. In some countries, citizens are spending up to 40% of their household budgets to pay for healthcare.” The statement emphasized the need for Governments to put every possible effort in allocating adequate domestic resources for health, which will contribute to achieving UHC.