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Kagame to chair African leaders’ healthcare meet in Addis Ababa

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African Heads of State and Government, business leaders and executives from global health organisations are yet to meet on February 10 in Addis Ababa to take-off a new initiative with objective to deliver increased, sustained and more impactful financing for health across Africa. According to reports, the meeting is expected to be chaired by President Paul Kagame, also outgoing chairperson of the African Union (AU).

Important personalities like the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg; UN Chief; António Guterres and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are expected to be part of the healthcare meeting. Coined as the Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health, the conference seeks to assemble governments, private sector and the global development community to coordinate and accelerate progress toward achieving universal health coverage.

With the 2018 WHO Global Health Expenditure Database, it has been noticed that African countries have made strides in domestic investments in health with 35 out of 55 AU Member States having increased the percentage of their Gross Domestic Product invested in health over the previous financial year.

The organisers argue that for the world’s most youthful continent, the future growth and prosperity will depend on developing and nurturing human capital.

Yet, over half of Africa’s population currently lacks access to essential health services, while millions die every year from commonly preventable diseases.

This important conference seeks to serve as a platform for partakers to deliberate on possible ways of changing the current situation, and attracting the private sector and development community to increase their commitments toward promoting the continent’s healthcare system. These increased investments have seen visible results in communities across Africa with shining examples of strengthened sub-national and national health systems.

In spite of the efforts made in improving investments in health, only two out of the 55 AU Member States meet Africa’s target of dedicating at least 15 per cent of the national budget to health and do not reach the recommended threshold of $86.30 per person required to provide a basic package of health services.

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