15 July 2015
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Global development partners meeting at the Financing for Development conference today called for stronger linkages between investments in health and education in low- and middle-income countries.
In an event, co-hosted by the governments of Ethiopia and the United States together with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS and the Global Partnership on Education, participants called for ambitious investments that strive for a world where everyone has access to quality health and education.
"Schools are a tremendously effective weapon against diseases on the continent. This holds even truer when it comes to young women and girls," said Kesetebirhan Admasu, Ethiopia's Minister of Health. "Education plays a pivotal role in helping young women and girls lead healthier and more prosperous lives."
In the hardest hit countries, girls account for more than 80 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents. There is strong evidence to show that keeping adolescent girls and young women in school not only reduces HIV infection rates but has the potential to create a critical mass of healthy, educated and financially independent women who make well-informed choices about their lives.
"In the end, it is education and health that will determine if an adolescent girl becomes a woman with equal opportunity," said Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "And now we have data to help us to shift to a holistic approach to bring the two together in development programs."
Building resilient and sustainable systems for health, Dr. Dybul added, relies on links between education and health.
"The link between health and education is clear. Educated girls tend to have fewer, healthier children. Healthy children are more likely to attend school and learn better," said Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education. "Without a renewed effort to mobilize increased financing for education, the SDG agenda will not succeed."
Today's event brought together African political leaders and international development partners to share knowledge and proposals on how to accelerate the benefits arising from collaboration in health and education programs at country levels. The forum also explored ways of raising finances to support interventions that are mutually reinforcing in the two sectors.