Parliamentarians drawn from ten African countries have signed a joint declaration aimed at enhancing sustainable domestic resource mobilization to finance health in Africa.
The legislators from Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana, Kenya, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe met on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Nairobi, to reflect and discuss health financing in Africa.
The ‘Nairobi Declaration’ is based on the context that African Union member states have subscribed to a solid normative legal framework on the right to health and committed to Agenda 2063 whose aim is to transform the potential threat posed by the expected doubling of its young population by 2050, into a ‘demographic dividend’ bringing economic growth and higher living standards.
They also subscribed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to significantly increase the health budget to ensure everyone benefits from universal health coverage (UHC).
Notably, many African states are struggling to meet their commitments to mobilize domestic resources, yet investing in health is investing in human capital, creating stable jobs, stimulating economic growth and reducing inequalities.
“Cognizant of the need to formalize genuine collaboration between parliamentarians and civil society, we propose for an effective advocacy program on sustainable domestic resource mobilization for health in Africa through a platform for exchanging information, sharing best practices, and strengthening political synergies.” Read a preamble of the Declaration.
The MPs noted that while investments in community health programs are cost-effective, there is still lack of prioritization and adequate budgets for the same.
The legislators came up with commitments on a number of issues. One of these is about domestic mobilization for health, including push for the move from commitment to action, co-financing of Global Fund and other development partners’ programs for HIV, TB and Malaria, to build equitable and resilient health systems focused on people-centered approach and integrated health services.
Another commitment is towards strengthening community health systems, including ensuring a recognized status for community health workers, financing of community health strategy, support for community-led responses, and incorporation of community, rights and gender considerations in HIV, TB and Malaria programming.
The parliamentarians also committed to bridging financial and implementation gaps of HIV, TB and Malaria, health systems strengthening, pandemic prevention preparedness and response and community health systems in the National Strategic Plans for the countries.
They further committed establishment of a space for exchange and sharing of good practices among parliamentarians from different regions of Africa and creating synergies with civil society and Domestic Resource Mobilization for Health in Africa.
“That African governments, in a multi-sectoral approach, work in concert with parliamentarians, civil society and the private sector to implement sustainable strategies for mobilizing domestic resources and for a significant increase in health budgets, given that a healthy nation is indispensable to Africa’s socio- economic transformation, as envisaged in Agenda 2063.
African governments, with the aim of achieving universal health coverage by 2030, accelerate the institutionalization of community health agents to ensure the sustainability of their actions. This means formalizing their integration into health systems, professionalizing their training and mobilizing the resources needed to pay them.” The Declaration’s recommendations read.
All 15 MPs present appended their signatures to the Nairobi Declaration.