On July 4-5, 2012, the AFDB as a key partner of the Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA) mechanism organized a high-level dialogue between Ministers of Finance and Health on Value for Money, Sustainability and Accountability in the Health Sector in Tunis.
The conference gathered over 50 Ministers of Finance and Health and/or their representatives from 33 African countries, parliamentarians as well as over 400 participants from the public and private sectors, academia, civil society and media globally. His Excellency Hamadi Jebali, Prime Minister of Tunisia, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, and Dr. Margaret Chan, Executive Director of the World Health Organisation delivered the opening remarks.
The conference emphasized the urgent need for greater domestic accountability, reduced dependence on foreign aid and the role of Parliamentarians as well as using e-health in achieving greater value money in the delivery of health services in Africa. In May 2012 the African Development launched an e-health award which recognizes the most authentic African ICT solutions in health.
It also stressed the need to tackle the critical shortages, maldistribution and inadequate performance of health workers in Africa. With 12% of the world population and 25% of the world’s burden of diseases, Africa has only 3% of the world health workforce. Ethiopia’s Health Extension Worker (HEW) Program is a good example of innovative policy interventions to health worker shortages.
The 2-day event also covered the drivers of capturing the demographic dividend highlighting the dramatic drop in child mortality and new initiatives on family planning. This was further stressed at the London Family Planning Summit on July 11, 2012 where global leaders pledged to provide 120 Million women in the world's poorest countries with access to contraceptives by 2020.
This high level dialogue culminated in a Tunis Declaration endorsed by all Ministers of Finance and Health present as the roadmap guiding the future health agenda in Africa
Recognizing the critical role of political leadership and the strategic role of Ministers of Finance, the Harvard University and AfDB jointly launched the ministerial leadership in health program for African Ministers of Finance during the conference. The first cohort will travel to Boston from November 28-December 1, 2012.