Dr Tedros’s Letter to Heads of States on UHC; AHBN calls on African Leaders to seize the moment and invest
Health Care Financing
The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) with its headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria has respectfully and passionately called on the African leaders to seize the moment, take concerted and coordinated actions towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the continent.
By Aminu Magashi Garba
The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) with its headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria has respectfully and passionately called on the African leaders to seize the moment, take concerted and coordinated actions towards achieving the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the continent. This advocacy call is made as a response to the letter written by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) on the 5th of March 2018 to every Head of State. He was asking them to make three concrete commitments towards achieving UHC and to report these at the World Health Assembly in May 2018.
The DG wrote amongst other that “the crossroads we now encounter as an international community reflects our dream for the future of our children and our children’s children – either a vision for humanity of healthy lives, well-being and prosperity, or one in which people continue to be forced to make devastating and heartbreaking choices between basic health services and feeding or educating their families…………..we live in a reality in which at least half of the world’s population still does not have access to essential health services. Even when health services are available, using them can mean financial ruin. 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty every year because of health spending. No one should have to choose between buying medicine and food; no one should have to choose between death and financial hardship.”
As Universal Health Coverage (UHC) ensures that every single person must have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without facing financial hardship, he reiterated that there is ample evidence from around the world that UHC does not only improve health, but reduces poverty, creates jobs, drives economic growth, promotes gender equality, and protects populations against epidemics.
Dr Tedros while commending the commitment of heads of states to the well-being of their people, he encouraged them to move further down the pathway towards UHC which can only be achieved with the convergence of unwavering political commitment, prioritized investment of domestic resources, and a strategic plan for health tailored to national context. He rounded up his letter by calling the leaders of all nations, for a global movement towards UHC and “ask you to join me in catalyzing this global movement which the prize is a safer and fairer world for all people, and better health for all.”
In line with the aforementioned, AHBN respectfully and dutifully calls on the African Leaders to commit to do the following three actions;
- Convert political commitment to a demonstrated action by increasing the annual allocation to health budget from the national and sub-national general government budgets.
- Commit to timely releases of health capital budget and improve overall health expenditure especially targeting lifesaving investments such as Immunization, Family Planning and Emergency Services for women and children.
- Explore innovative ways to generate more domestic resources such as using the Global Financing Facility (GFF) model of funding a jointly developed RMNCAH + N investment cases, align external partners’ support and by targeting the organized private sector.