The GFAN Africa ICASA 2023 side meeting themed: “Domestic Resource Mobilization and Achieving Sustainable Health Financing in Africa” attended by various stakeholders, including representatives from WACI Health, the Stop TB Partnership Kenya, the Global Fund Secretariat, the Ministry of Health Zimbabwe, and numerous civil society organizations, key discussions unfolded that highlighted both the progress and challenges in the regional and global health sector, particularly in Domestic Resource Mobilization and Achieving Sustainable Health Financing in Africa
Ms. Evaline Kibuchi from WACI Health opened the meeting with a reflective note on the journey thus far. She emphasized the significant strides made in medical research, human rights, and saving lives. Ms Kibuchi pointed out that these achievements were largely due to the relentless advocacy by civil society and the indispensable support of donors. She urged everyone to maintain this momentum to meet the ambitious 2030 targets.
Following her, Mr. Peter Sands from the Global Fund Secretariat took the stage. He acknowledged the pivotal role of community advocates and civil society in reaching health goals. However, he brought to light a critical challenge – the stagnating, and in some places, declining funding for HIV, overshadowed by other global priorities like climate change and civil conflicts. Mr. Sands called for intensified advocacy to keep HIV high on the global health agenda.
The keynote address was delivered by Hon Dr. Douglas Mombeshora, the Minister of Health and Child Care of Zimbabwe. He painted a stark picture of the health crises in Africa, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, he proudly shared Zimbabwe’s success in scaling up HIV prevention and treatment, closely approaching the 95-95-95 targets for adults. He stressed the need for sustainable health financing and innovation in health research and development.
Mr. Itai Rusike from the Community Working Group on Health provided an insightful perspective on the situation in Zimbabwe. He highlighted the substantial support received from the Global Fund and emphasized the crucial role of community involvement in health decision-making. Mr. Rusike also expressed concern over the cancellation of the planned People’s March, viewing it as a limitation on civil society expression.
The open plenary session that followed brought up critical issues regarding the role and challenges faced by civil society in health and human rights advocacy. A collective sentiment emerged. There was a strong call for a unified message to funders and the ICASA Secretariat, emphasizing the need for civil society’s voice and participation in shaping health agendas. A consensus was reached on the use of digital platforms for safe advocacy as well as a strong collective statement on the cancellation of the march and infringement of rights.
This meeting was a testament to the collaborative efforts in the global fight against diseases and the recognition of the hurdles that still lie ahead. It underscored the importance of continued advocacy, strategic funding, and the empowering role of civil society in steering towards the 2030 health targets.