Yokohama, Japan, 5th September2019: African countries have integrated Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in their national health strategies, a significant step towards ensuring communities access quality equitable essential health services without financial hardship.
The progress towards UHC – one of the United Nation’s health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets – was presented during the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Japan at a side event themed ‘Sustainable UHC in Africa through Building Country Ownership’, which was led by Amref Health Africa.
“It is encouraging that many African countries have integrated UHC as a goal in their national plans and agendas. This is key in supporting mobilisation of adequate resources to ensure equitable population coverage and the provision of quality primary health care by strengthening the health service delivery system, guaranteeing that health services are accessible to all (especially poor and vulnerable individuals) and increasing financial protection,’’ said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, the Global CEO of Amref Health Africa during the event which saw presentation of country UHC reports.
The country reports review progress of UHC in Botswana, Cote D’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone Sudan and Zambia and Mali is based on the Universal Health Coverage in Africa: A Framework for Action that was launched by the World Bank, World Health Organization (WHO), Government of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Global Fund, and African Development Bank (ADB) at the 6th TICAD event held in Nairobi in 2016.
The review comes after three years since the adoption of UHC as a target in Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals; Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages and focuses on five key areas highlighted in the Framework – Financing: More and Better Spending and Effective Financial Protection, Services: People-Centered Services, Quality and Multi-Sectoral Action, Equity: Targeting the Poor and Marginalized and Leaving No One Behind, Preparedness: Strengthening Health Security, and Governance: Political and Institutional Foundations for the UHC Agenda – in addition to the role of innovation and private sector engagement in delivering on the goal.
Despite the milestones recorded, the progress report acknowledges that achieving UHC by 2030 is an ambitious target, which demands an urgent but continuous process that responds to shifts in demographic and economic trends. It calls for health financing reforms and interventions to improve health outcomes, identification of policy options to expand coverage to the informal sector and vulnerable populations and improvements to extend service coverage to hard-to-reach communities through investments in primary and community health care interventions.
To achieve this countries will need to increase domestic resources for health, increase efficiency of existing funds by focusing on primary healthcare and apply an equity lens to allocation of resources. This will require continued political will and good governance including inclusion and participation of communities.
This meeting was held as the world prepares to adopt the first ever common political declaration of commitment for Universal Health Coverage in the upcoming UHC High Level Meeting at the UN General Assembly in September 2019.
Towards this, Amref Health Africa will convene the Africa Health Agenda International Conference in Kigali Rwanda between 8th to 11th March 2021 themed ‘Country-led action for Universal Health Coverage in Africa.
Notes to the Editors
About Amref Health Africa
Amref Health Africa, headquartered in Kenya, is the largest Africa based international Non-Governmental Organisation (INGO) currently running programs in over 35 countries in Africa with lessons learnt over 60 years of engagement with governments, communities and partners to increase sustainable health access in Africa. Amref Health Africa also incorporates programme development, fundraising, partnership, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and has offices in Europe and North America as well as subsidiaries; Amref Flying Doctors, Amref Enterprises and the Amref International University.
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