July 18, 2024

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Building a Path to Universal Health Coverage: Insights from the Kigali Pre-Conference Event

As a build up to the Kigali High-level Health Financing Conference. The Lusaka Pre-Conference event is a meeting convened by AUDA-NEPAD in collaboration with the African Union Commission and other partners to review progress and strengthen the coordination and implementation of the African Leadership Meeting (ALM) declaration on “Investing in Health.” This declaration, adopted in February 2019, aims to increase domestic health financing in Africa to strengthen health systems and achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Mrs. Nardos Bekele-Thomas, AUDA-NEPAD CEO, stated the ALM declaration focuses on various commitments, including increasing domestic investment in health, convening meetings between African Ministers of Finance and Health, establishing regional health financing hubs, attracting private capital into the health sector, improving public financial management, and digitizing the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health. The event will assess progress in implementing these commitments.

She said, “Today, Africa faces an urgent health challenge. While the continent imports 95% of its drugs, it accounts for merely 3% of all medicine production globally. Additionally, it is estimated that Africa could be losing up to $1 billion annually on overseas medical services​​. For example, Nigerians alone spend more than $200 million yearly on medical tourism to India. Similarly, Kenyans spend about $80 million annually to seek treatment for conditions such as cancer and brain tumors in India, underscoring the significant financial impact of such healthcare-related travel​​.”

“I call upon the private sector to actively engage in the health sector, whether through investments in healthcare infrastructure, research and development, or public-private partnerships. Together, we can unlock new opportunities and drive sustainable impact.” She added

AUDA-NEPAD, in consultation with Regional Economic Communities (RECs), development partners and private sector actors, has developed a private sector engagement in health strategic framework aimed at increasing private sector investment in health. The framework sets out to strengthen governance, leadership, and accountability to attract investment in health systems and better coordinate and improve private healthcare services; identifyopportunities and strategies for private sector investment in health; strengthen organisational and technical capacities to engage with and attract private sector investment in health; and support evidence-based private sector engagement in health and improve efficiency and equitable healthcare delivery.

Other key achievements highlighted include the development and piloting of a tracker to monitor the components of the ALM, digitization of the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health, validation of a strategic framework for private sector engagement in health, and the establishment of Regional Health Financing Hubs in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) regions.

The meeting’s objectives include sharing best practices and lessons learned, outlining a comprehensive private sector and health financing engagement process, improving coordination of private sector investment in health, and identifying priority actions (quick wins) for health financing and private sector engagement in 2024. The outcomes of this conference will inform broader discussions at the Kigali health financing and investment conference scheduled for February 2024.

For more information, visit www.nepad.org

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