African leaders set to launch new healthcare initiative

African leaders will gather to launch a new initiative aimed at increasing commitments for health and accelerating path towards Universal Healthcare Coverage ahead of the 32nd African Union Summit.

According to the 2018 WHO Global Health Expenditure Database, African countries are gradually increasing domestic investments in health.

The report indicated that 35 out of 55 AU Member States (over 64%) having increased the percentage of their Gross Domestic Product invested in health over the previous financial year.

However, while African countries have made huge strides in increasing domestic investments in health, only 2 out of the 55 AU Member States meet Africa’s target of dedicating at least 15% of the government budget to health and do not reach the suggested threshold of US$86.30 per person required to provide a basic package of health services.

Yet, more than half of Africa’s population currently lacks access to essential health services, while millions die every year from commonly preventable diseases.

Rwandan, President Paul Kagame, who doubles as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), is expected to chair the conference, which is scheduled for 10 – 11 February 2019.

Dubbed the Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health, it will be a platform bringing together governments, private sector and the global development community to coordinate and accelerate progress toward achieving universal health coverage.