We drive targeted advocacy on key health issues. We focus on areas where political and financial opportunities would be missed without effective advocacy. As per our strategic plan (2016-2021), our strategies include (i) advocating for investments in effective health services and proven health interventions by governments in their own countries and globally; (ii) push for policy change based on policy options, proven interventions, and existing policy gaps; (iii) foster and maintain accountability at national, regional, and global levels to ensure that investments and policies translate into practice and ultimately into health impact.
Ending epidemics: AIDS, TB and malaria
We aim at accelerating the delivery of national, regional and global targets and commitments on ending AIDS, TB and malaria as epidemics by 2030. This includes making sure that the Global Fund, one of the most effective Global Health financing mechanisms, is fully funded. The work we led on GFAN Africa for the 6th replenishment of the Global Fund, for example contributed to the successful mobilization of $14b for HIV, TB and malaria programs. Our efforts here also include enhancing community and civil society coordination and capacity to actively and strategically contribute to AIDS, TB and malaria accountability efforts. This includes ensuring that programs are people centered and rights based.
Our work on Africa free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi) contributes to the Global Goal of ending AIDS by 2030. AfNHi, a network of HIV prevention advocates in Africa, pushes for prioritization of prevention research in Africa.
Through RUN4TB, WACI Health in partnership with Stop TB Partnership, seeks to catalyze community and civil society voices for TB advocacy in the African region to create a sense of urgency, and in a coordinated approach call upon African leadership to rise up for TB by prioritizing the delivery of the UNHLM targets and TB accountability.
During this time of COVID-19, in collaboration with Youth Leaders for Health are enabling a popular platform dubbed ‘The Beat Continues’ for socialising at a distance for young and energetic population to communicate passionately their desire to end Malaria and build a strong public health system that can take on any challenge – including COVID-19.
Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
Our work on gender equality and women’s empowerment has included supporting policy change and proven interventions on Gender based Violence, sexual violence and ending child marriage.
For example, through ‘Girls not Brides’ as narrated in this documentary Ukuthwala: Stolen Innocence by WACI Health, also summarized in this blog, the plight of young girls sold off as brides and how WACI Health and partners cultivated traditional leaders and health care providers as champions for girls in ending early marriages and for the implementation of the sexual Offenses Act in South Africa is highlighted.
WACI Health is also a member of South Africa’s National Gender Based Violence (GBV) Committee and has supported both the development and implementation of the GBV strategy in South Africa.
We engage on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) as an intergovernmental platform for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
We are keen on advocacy that supports the advancement of female-controlled HIV prevention options.
Improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, health and nutrition (RMNCAH+N) outcomes
We have a long history of working on the intersection between HIV and SRHR. This includes addressing Gender Based Violence and sexual violence as drivers of new HIV infections. For example, our program, ‘Girls not brides’ includes advocacy for the implementing of the sexual offenses Act in South Africa.
We also work on the Global Financing Facility (The GFF), an important financing mechanism. The GFF promises to support a country-driven and results-focused approach to ensuring equitable access to affordable minimum package of RMNCAH+N thus contributing to progress towards universal health. Our work on the GFF includes ‘GFF We Want’ campaign, which aims at (i) supporting resource mobilization for the GFF (ii) GFF accountability at country level.
Our work on maternal health also includes a focus on reducing maternal deaths through policy work on proven interventions for Post-Partum Hemorrhage (PPH). In partnership with Concept Foundation and MSD for Mothers, we are supporting Regional Economic Committees (RECs), specifically, EAC and ECOWAS member states, on improving access to life-saving medicines for postpartum haemorrhage. We do so by raising awareness of the current challenges with maternal health essential medicines and the importance of quality maternal health essential medicines. Through this work we support EAC and ECOWAS member states in updating their national PPH prevention guidelines and National Essential Medicines List to reflect the current WHO Recommendations: Uterotonics for Prevention of PPH and 2019 WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) introducing amendments that will ensure greater access to quality uterotonics.
Advancing UHC and Primary Health Care
Our work acknowledges that delivering UHC to all across the world is no easy task. To get there, there are many important steps to make. The global health community must find a way to package UHC into accessible and viable elements. Our work seeks to ensure that these elements address the fundamentals of UHC such as access, quality of health services, and protection against financial hardships. Our UHC work is framed on the premise that UHC requires a strong primary health care as the foundation of the health system.
WACI Health co-hosts with MSH the UHC2030 Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (CSEM). This partnership helps in supporting the efforts of more than 1,000 members of the CSEM from more than 850 organizations in 100+ countries who are leading UHC-focused advocacy.
As a member of the PHC Strategy group, we are working on advocacy and accountability work aimed at (i) ensuring access to essential health services in the current COVID-19 crisis period with a particular focus on SRHR services in Kenya and (ii) advocacy for increased investments to strengthen primary health care systems in Africa.
Addressing gaps in health research, technologies and Innovation
In a 2017 report, jointly published with Aids Accountability International, WACI Health noted that historically, there is a clear case for a palpable and urgent need for African governments to greatly increase public investment in HIV research and development. This was informed by a notable decline in global expenditure on some key components of HIV R&D.
To end HIV and other epidemics, African governments must find ways to commit more of their own resources in research and development in areas of global health. There is need to place stronger emphasis on R&D, both in policy and funding, so as to build resilient national health systems. Health R&D should be at the core of national innovation systems. Throught AfNHi, WACI Health and other civil society partners in Africa are engaging with African governments to make this commitment possible.
As a member of the Coalition on Health Research and Development in Kenya (CHReaD) as well as the South Africa Health Technologies Advocacy Coalition (SAHTAC)- we contribute in promoting action on health research and development through coordinated advocacy efforts towards increased access to lifesaving products, technologies, and innovations.
Civil Society organizing and convening
Our mandate calls us to play a critical role in galvanising civil society voices to build a formidable global health movement across Africa. We believe that we can advocate for and accelerate efforts to achieve universal health coverage across Africa even as we support countries to end epidemics of HIV, TB and Malaria. We can help save lives and transform communities globally.
To achieve this goal of forming a strong movement of global health advocates, all partners – governments, private sector, international community and key civil society organizations – must work together.
The advocacy role of civil society and communities should be supported.
Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
AfNHi Youth Cohort champions and advocates for investment in health, HIV research and development with a focus on reducing new HIV infections among young people.
The goal of the cohort is to enhance Youth engagement on HIV prevention research in Africa. The youth cohort is a mobilization platform for young people to engage in HIV prevention research advocacy by equipping them with knowledge and capacity. AfNHi creates a space for youth to organize and raise their voice for their HIV Prevention needs. This is to address the critical need to ensure that there is sufficient knowledge on HIV prevention among young people.
AfNHi youth cohort enables young people to represent their own interests and that their voices are critical to driving and effecting positive change among them in the effort to end new HIV infections. The youth cohort builds skills for youth champions to advocate for youth friendly policies for HIV prevention among youth, facilitate youth to engage at high level forums for HIV prevention research advocacy National level and Conduct Youth led HIV prevention campaigns during key moments and events.
In 2020, AfNHi youth cohort has engaged in advocacy on HIV and on access to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights services for young people at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted access to services and treatment and increasing vulnerability.