AFRICAN UNION COMMISSION CALLS FOR MORE DOMESTIC INVESTMENT IN HEALTH TO BEAT COMMUNICABLE AND NEGLECTED DISEASES
Addis Ababa 25 April 2013- The African Union Commission has called for more domestic investment in health at a time when the continent is confronted by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and an increasing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko was addressing AU Ministers of Health attending their sixth ordinary session at the African Union in Addis Ababa yesterday, when he underscored that health deserves funding because it is an investment in economic development.
The sixth Session of the AU Conference of Ministers of Health is being held under the theme “the impact of non-communicable diseases and neglected tropical illnesses on Africa’s socio economic development”. During the forum, the ministers will discuss the theme of the conference with social partners, Regional Economic Communities, development partners and other stakeholders, with a view to: increase awareness on the challenges of NTDs and NCDs in Africa; facilitate decisions on strong actions against NTDs and NCDs in Africa; consider progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the fifth Ministers of Health meeting; and articulate the essential elements on a continental strategy to increase resource mobilization, especially domestic resources and enhance efficiency of health programmes in Africa.
“We are committed to strengthening accountability systems and enhancing our management for results. Member States will be supported to increase access to integrated, comprehensive and cost effective health care services tailored to cultural sensitivities. Increased effort will be made to motivate member states to increase resource allocation to the health sector to guarantee a solid domestic resource base in the face of dwindling and unpredictable external assistance”, Dr Kaloko pledged, as a way forward. He also added that progress has been made with regard to the health status of Africans and “we only now need to evaluate our strategies and reinforce action.”
The Ministers of Health meeting is taking place against the backdrop of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, the predecessor to the African union. As to what opportunity this offers to the health sector, Commissioner Kaloko said,
“The anniversary provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the health of our people over the past 50 years, our achievements and challenges and look ahead to the next 50 years, as to what kind of Africa we want for our children’s children”.
The theme of the sixth ordinary session of the conference of African Ministers of health was inspired by the Africa Health Strategy 2007-2015 which clearly states that Africa’s people are still confronted by the triple disease burden due to communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as injury and trauma. The social impact of these diseases has adversely affected development in Africa.
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