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On 24 February, WACI Wealth mobilized members of the Africa Civil Society Platform for Health (CISPHA) for a discussion on the AU -EU Strategy on the health pillar. CISPHA is working to increase and sustain advocacy to hold AU member states accountable especially on the outcomes of the Africa Leaders Meeting on Health, the AU-EU relations and TICAD. CISPHA’s engagement is primarily in participation in the AU technical working group and the communications and advocacy committee of AIDS Watch Africa (AWA).

The Joint AU-EU Strategy is the first long-term framework for relations between the AU and EU. It sets out the intention of both continents to move beyond a donor/recipient relationship towards long-term cooperation on jointly identified mutual and complementary interests. The conversations organized by WACI Health in collaboration with GHA France focused on health. Broadly, the framework for relations focuses on peace and stability; migration; democracy and good governance; economic development; human development (which includes health, education and nutrition), and climate change.

There are plans to have an EU AU leaders’ summit later. In readiness for the summit, European and African civil societies are currently working on a joint paper on the urgent long-term health needs for Africa and how COVID-19 has made these needs even more critical. The meaningful inclusion of civil society in the AU-EU strategy is important as it brings forth the voices of communities.

The joint civil society paper will highlight the health concerns of Africa and will focus on the health pillar to inform the roadmap towards achieving the desired long-term health outcomes. The need to include in the joint paper health systems strengthening is critical at a time when COVID-19 has devastated the already fragile health systems. There was an additional observation that community health systems are not optimized to support the pandemic. Rural communities, key populations and urban poor are still not adequately reached due to weak community health systems.

Other key considerations for inclusion in the joint paper are human resources for health, skills for health personnel, adequate remuneration and personal protection of personnel as well as health infrastructure. The needs of adolescent girls and young women who are disproportionately affected and exposed to challenges such as HIV will be included in the joint paper. Read more…..

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