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The Challenge:

African health indicators are the lowest in the world, and remain the furthest from reaching the MDGs. More than two-thirds of people living with AIDS are in Africa[1],and more than one million people, mostly women and children, die each year to malaria.[2] Many of Africa's health systems are underfunded and ill-equipped: 2 million children, 1.4 million under the age of 5, died in 2002 from easily preventable diseases[3]. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa represents 24% of the global health burden, but only has 3% of the world's health workers.[4]

Key Commitments:

G8 summits have generated numerous commitments and reaffirmations in health systems, HIV, TB,malaria, polio and other infectious diseases. The Gleneagles communiqué on Africa and Heiligendamm's Growth and Responsibility in Africa Declaration identified health systems as a key area of investment. In St Petersburg G8 leaders committed to work towards providing an additional $60billion to fight infectious diseases and strengthen health in its Fight Against Infectious Diseases declaration, with additional time-bound conditions added in the 2008 Hokkaido Summit Leaders Declaration. Commitments To Help Stop Polio Forever were established at Sea Island in 2004, while efforts to address malaria in Africa have been regularly emphasized, notably in Heiligendamm's Growth and Responsibility in Africa Declaration, and the Hokkaido commitment to provide 100 million bednets by 2010. HIV/AIDS has received particular attention, including the 2002 Kananaskis Africa Action Plan, the Gleneagles communiqué on Africa, and subsequent summits.

Building on HIV/AIDS commitments made at Gleneagles, leaders later signed up to the UNGASS Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS in 2006, a review and development of the 2001 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. The European Programme for Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis was established in 2005, and emphasized in The European Consensus on Development of the same year.

At the 2001 Abuja Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and other related Infectious Diseases African leaders pledged to allocate at least 15% of federal budget spending on the health sector, a commitment that has been reiterated insubsequent declarations such as the 2003 Maputo Declaration on HIV/AIDS, TB and other related Infectious Diseases and the Abuja Call for Accelerated Action, adopted at the 2006 Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (ATM) in 2006. The AU has also endorsed the Africa Health Strategy: 2007-2015, which focuses on strengthening health systems and accelerating progress to achieve the MDGs. Advances have also been made at the ministerial level, including the 2005 Gaborone Declaration where health ministers adopted a ‘Roadmap Towards Universal Access to Prevention, Care and Treatment', followed by the href="" title="click here to view this commitment">Brazzaville Commitment in 2006 to scale up HIV access and treatment by 2010.


[1] UNAIDS. AIDS epidemic Update 2007,Geneva.
[3] World Health organisation.'Immunisation against Diseases of Public Health Importance'
[4] World health Organisation 2008. Theglobal shortage of health workers and its impact; AU Africa Health Strategy:2007-2015.