10 February 2019
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The Global Fund joined calls by African leaders for more investments in health at a leadership conference that championed commitments to support broad social and economic development by ending epidemics and strengthening health systems.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Chair of the African Union, underlined the importance of domestic spending in the health sector to achieve national goals, supported by governments and by the private sector.
Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, calling health a fundamental human right, expressed support for targeted investments in health that prioritize services for women and children and underpin national development. She and others cited the stark reality that Africa has 24 percent of the global disease burden and only 1 percent of total spending in health.
Numerous leaders at the conference called for greater contributions to the Global Fund’s Replenishment in 2019, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, expressed thanks and solidarity with Africa’s commitment to investing in health and greatly advancing efforts to end the epidemics of AIDS, TB and malaria. Only by significantly increasing domestic investment in health, he said, will global efforts succeed in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We have to step up the fight now,” said Sands, speaking at the Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health that was convened prior to the 32nd African Union Summit. “Working together with governments, civil society and communities, and the private sector, we can save lives and overcome urgent health challenges.”
Nearly 1,000 adolescent girls and young women are infected with HIV every day. A child still dies every two minutes from malaria. TB is now the world’s leading killer among infectious diseases.
For the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment, partners have vowed collective action to raise at least $14 billion for the coming three-year period to help save 16 million lives, cut the mortality rate from HIV, TB and malaria in half, and build stronger health systems by 2023.
"Good health is at the center of our vision of a more sustainable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future,” said UN Secretary-General Guterres. “It is both an outcome and driver of progress.”
Amira Mohammed Elfadil, Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chair of the African Union Commission presided at the Africa Leadership Meeting, which was also attended by other leaders from governments, the private sector and numerous organizations.
The meeting concluded on 9 February with a call to action to increase domestic investments in health as a greater percentage of gross domestic product in each country. It called on governments, the private sector and the global development community to coordinate and accelerate progress toward achieving Universal Health Coverage.