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AfDB-Harvard University Ministerial Leadership in Health Program for Ministers of Finance

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On July 4-5, 2012, the Harmonization for Health in Africa initiative organized a high-level dialogue among African Ministers of Finance and Health on Value for Money, Sustainability, and Accountability in the Health Sector, which was hosted by the African Development Bank in Tunis. Participants recognized that good health is key to sustainable economic and social development and that sustained development provides additional resources to improve the population’s health. Maintaining this virtuous circle requires greater attention to achieving value for money, sustainability, and accountability for results in the health sector.

The conference concluded with the Tunis Declaration on Value for Money, Sustainability, and Accountability in the Health Sector, a call for collaboration among Ministries of Finance and Health, development partners, parliamentarians, and civil society to deliver equitable, efficient, and sustainable health services in Africa. Recognizing the critical role of political leaders in implementing the commitments of the Tunis Declaration and achieving sustainable health care financing, particularly the strategic role of Ministers of Finance in ensuring value for money, the Bank and the Harvard School of Public Health embarked on developing a Ministerial Leadership in Health Program for Ministers of Finance.

The Ministerial Leadership in Health Program is designed exclusively for Ministers of Finance in Africa. Some 15 Ministers, recognized for their leadership in public finance, together with a smaller group of distinguished former Ministers of Health and cabinet-level officials from countries with a track record of innovative health financing, were invited to participate in the first program, which took place at Harvard University on April 21-24, 2013.

The program aims to enhance understanding of the importance of transformational political leadership in improving national health and health care and to examine the importance of health for national economic development and poverty eradication. It will also explore innovative health financing options and international experience to reduce dependence on external budgetary support and achieve universal access to quality health services, as well as improve value for money in health care spending through study strategies and instruments.

The program is informed by an advisory committee of prominent economists, former Ministers of Finance from inside and outside of Africa, heads of international organizations, and scholars. At the request of participating countries, the ministerial forum will be followed by country-level customized activities as well as consensus-building. Participants will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the program.

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