Universal Health Coverage Day
Health is Wealth Summit series is an African-led partnership among the Africa Embassies, African Diaspora Networks and AfroEuro Foundation to advocate and mobilize the capacity and resources of African diaspora and private sector to catalyze the financing and transformation of African health systems. The aim of the partnership is to bring together businesses, governments, development institutions and philanthropists to significantly facilitate remittances and private investments to increase access to affordable quality to millions of people excluded from the African health system. The initiative will be launched during the Universal Health Coverage Day on 12 December 2022, followed by a series of international events to galvanize African diasporas, businesses and leaders to drive transformative action
Health is wealth. Covid-19 has demonstrated the strong linkages between health and economy. A healthy society is essential for stability, productivity and economic growth. Covid-19 pandemic has, however, exposed major flaws in humanity’s capacity to effectively and equitably manage health emergencies as well as other basic health needs. The pandemic has strained livelihoods, and the ongoing negative economic impact being reported across the globe continue to disproportionately impair development of African countries.
In Africa, where most countries are low income or lower-middle income, the pandemic uncovered the gross inadequacies and inequities in the continent’s health-care systems. Leaders from the public and private sectors have called for a fundamental transformation in those systems to address the current crisis, meet the rising healthcare needs and prepare for future pandemics. They have highlighted the need for commitments at the highest level that are coordinated, connected, fast-moving, transparent, results oriented, and equitable. In other words, a complete revamping of Africa’s health-care systems is essential.
The scale and complexity of the challenges may seem impossible. Africa faces a double burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Infectious diseases account for at least 69 per cent of deaths on the continent; the Sahel region still has high fertility rates while some parts of the continent have already begun the demographic transition; and there remains a mismatch between domestic financing and the need for universal health-care coverage. Changing this narrative will require bold action to ensure that Africans have access to affordable, equitable and -quality health care.
In addressing these challenges, it is important to recognize and learn from the progress that has been made in across Africa in the past 20 years, for example, in reducing maternal mortality and preventable deaths under 5 years of age. An increasing number of African countries is also adopting innovative financing for health, including health insurance in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Rwanda. Mobile technology is also transforming African economy and society like nobody imagined 20 years ago. For example, about 10% of the GDP transactions in Africa are mobile payments compared to 2% in the US and Europe.
Further, most African countries have integrated Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a goal in their national health strategies. Yet, progress in translating these commitments into expanded domestic resources for health, effective development assistance, and ultimately, equitable and quality health services, and increased financial protection, has been slow. Annually, more than 15 million people in Africa alone are pushed below the $1.90 a day poverty line, mainly attributable to household health expenditures1. More than 109 million Africans spend 10% or more of their household income on health.
Investment in Africa’s health systems is key to inclusive and sustainable growth. Remittances, largely unstructured, form an important source of financing in Africa, which can be geared towards health. Last year, remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa rose $49 billion, with Nigeria ($19.2 billion), Ghana ($4.5 billion), Kenya ($3.7 billion), Senegal ($2.7 billion), Zimbabwe ($2 billion) as major recipient countries. Also in 2021, investment flows to Africa totaled 83 billion, rebounding quickly after Covid, with the largest foreign asset holders being European. The increasing role of private investments and the ongoing dialogue involving the private sector and assessment of the public-private partnerships in health care is critical for the financing and sustainability of African health systems.
Health is Wealth Summit series is an African-led partnership among the Africa Embassies, The Health is Wealth Summit aims at advocating and mobilizing the capacity and resources of African diaspora in Europe as well as foreign private investments for the financing of health in Africa. The Africa Embassies in the Netherlands, Africa Diaspora Networks in Europe and AfroEuro Foundation are responding to this challenge. The Health in Wealth Summit will aim at the following objectives:
The summit will take various forms:
The Health is Wealth Summit is meant for African embassies in the Netherlands, governments, businesses, African diaspora networks, Dutch and African development partners and international development institutions.
As the convening organization, AfroEuro Foundation will be responsible for managing engagement with the key stakeholders, with the primary goal of securing their input and influence to achieve the summit’s objectives.
The summit will be held on the Universal Health Coverage Day followed by other events (e.g. podcasts, advocacy, expert meetings and presentations) throughout the year with different partners, including the African embassies in the Netherlands, governments, businesses, African diaspora networks, development partners and international development institutions.
AfroEuro Foundation will lead a partnership with an ambitious goal to engage and disseminate information on African health systems, in collaboration with the embassies and diaspora networks. The goal is to create a blueprint for mobilization and advocacy on healthcare investments in Africa, drawing on the lessons that it has learned from mobilizing support and building partnership for the technology and economic sectors in West Africa. For the past 5 years, AfroEuro has been organizing Ghana-Netherlands Business Fair, which has attracted both Dutch and Ghanaian businesses, governments and policy makers. Promoting mobilization and building partnerships capacity requires long-term trust and commitments from the public and private sectors, which AfroEuro Foundation have developed over the years.
AfroEuro Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organisation established in 2003. The organisation seeks to build a positive image for African diaspora in Europe and mobilize the capacity and resources of African diaspora for development in Africa. With “Building Bridges” as its motto, AfroEuro builds and facilitates understanding and learnings between the North and the South. It subscribes to the NEPAD principles and works in collaboration with African students, professionals, governments, and advocates throughout the AfroEuro Development Partnership. As the world moves increasingly towards globalization, the partnership seek to stimulate poorer communities towards greater participation in global economy, commerce and trade.
The partnership makes adequate use of the ideals of NEPAD in building peace and the support of development efforts to be reality in the lives of people in the third world. NEPAD, the mechanism for stimulating development efforts geared towards the African continent shall form a great reference point for the partnership. The major aim of the partnership is bridging the gap between the developed and the less developed countries, especially in the field of education. Capacity-building, empowerment and investment is the main focus of the partnership.