The Annual Meeting of the Harmonization for Health in Africa
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will be hosting, 1-5 December 2009 in Tunis, the 4th Annual Meeting of the Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA) initiative. What is exceptional about this year’s meeting is that it will convene a special two-day session involving Permanent Secretaries from Ministries in charge of Finance and Health from over a dozen African countries to deliberate on the Investment Case for Health Expenditures in Africa and to explore strategies to enhance coordination between these ministries.
The meeting - under the theme A New Way of Working Together - comes at a decisive time for the state of health in Africa and for the HHA in particular. Progress on critical health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is far from encouraging, particularly with regard to Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn health. And while the HHA has made considerable strides to boost country-led evidence-based health policies, plans and budgets and to harmonize and align external funding, demands for support from partner countries exceed all expectations. In four brief years, the HHA has already successfully provided support to over 20 countries across Africa, including those who have concluded “compacts” with the HHA’s sister initiative, the International Health Partnership (IHP+).
Aside from the AfDB, HHA member agencies include WHO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, and the World Bank. Within this partnership, the AfDB and World Bank play a unique role. As portrayed in the founding HHA Action Framework, International Financial Institutions are well-equipped to work with Ministries of Finance for MDG-focused national planning and resource mobilization. They are also well-positioned to assist Ministries of Health with results-driven advocacy and policy guidance.
“The strength of the HHA is its success at marshalling the very best of each of its founding partners as well as its commitment to sustainable, country-driven activities”, says Tom Hurley, Director of the Human Development Department at the AfDB. “More health for the money and more money for health is a laudable goal we should all be looking to reinforce”.
Visible and meaningful involvement of the AfDB in the HHA process is consistent with the ADB Group’s Medium Term Strategy 2008-2012 which reiterates its intention to remain directly engaged in social sectors including by providing selected support in coordination with other partners. It also responds directly to AfDB’s comparative advantages in the health sector, its commitment to the Paris Harmonization Agenda, and the objectives of the AfDB Governance Strategic Directions and Action Plan 2008-2012, (April 2008) to enhance governance in sectors through improved policy, planning, and budgeting by sector ministries and effective integration with planning and finance ministers.
For further information contact Mr. Tshinko B. Ilunga, Manager, or Fabrice Sergent, Principal Health Analyst.