Third Session of the African Union Conference of Minister of Health, Africa Health Strategy: 2007 – 2015, Johannesburg, South Africa, 9-13 April 2007

Sectors : General health and health funding, Health systems, medicines and regulation
Organisation : AU
Date made: 

Commitments in: Health - General health and health funding

“2. The Strategy recognises that Member States and regions and indeed the continent have previously set health goals in addition to the Millennium Development Goals that they have committed to. It explores some challenges that militate against the continent decreasing the burden of disease and improving development and also draws on existing opportunities. It highlights strategic directions that can be helpful if approached in a multi-sectoral fashion, adequately resourced, implemented and monitored accordingly.

3. The African Union, its programmes and the RECs will use this Strategy as the framework within which they will fulfil their roles. The Strategy provides a focus for all health initiatives to converge around. Ministers of Health are calling on multilateral agencies, bilateral donors and other partners in Africa’s development to build their health contribution around this Strategy. Such a co-ordinated response is critical to ensure maximum benefit from the resources mobilised and to prevent fragmentation and duplication. This Strategy thus provides an overarching framework to enable coherence between countries, civil society and the international community.

4. The strategy proposes strengthening of health systems through improved resources, policies and management. This will contribute to equity through a system that reaches the poor and those most in need of health care. Investment in health will impact on poverty reduction and overall economic development....

...20. Africa knows what its disease burden is and its consequences, Africa also knows that it is possible to and can change this legacy as well as the interventions required. Its Health Ministers are committed to leading and co-ordinating a committed effort to enhance the health of Africa.

3.1 Vision and Mission

21. The vision is an integrated and prosperous Africa free of its heavy burden of disease, disability and premature death.

22. The mission is to build an effective, African driven response to reduce the burden of disease and disability, through strengthened health systems, scaled-up health interventions, inter sectoral action and empowered communities....

...3.3 Goals and Objectives

24. The goal of this Africa Health Strategy is to contribute to Africa’s socioeconomic development by dramatically improving the health of its people and by ensuring access to essential health care for all Africans, especially the poorest and most marginalised, by 2015.

25. The overall objective of this strategy is to strengthen health systems in order to reduce ill-health and accelerate progress towards attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. The specific objectives are:
a. To assist member states to strengthen their national health systems
b. To offer guidance on strengthening their health programmes
c. To provide an approach to work together with other sectors to improve the socio-economic and political environment for health

4.1.1a Policies and legislation

32. Health policies will be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are an up to date reflection of government’s intention and priorities, reflect best practice and take into account the realities and socio-cultural circumstances of the country. Policies should be geared towards supporting effective implementation and monitoring of programmes.

4.1.1b Organization

34. This Strategy seeks to advocate and promote a coherent organisational framework that enhances efficiencies and effectiveness through:

• Adopting a primary health care approach
• Reducing bureaucracy and enabling appropriately skilled management
• Increasing cost-effectiveness and evidence based decision making
• Improving efficiency through reorganizing services
• Introducing quality improvement programmes
• Allocating resources to most effectively and equitably address health needs
• Determining the package of primary health care that all citizens can access
• Decentralizing operational management of the health system

4.1.1c Performance

37. Countries are committed to enhancing the performance of their health system to achieve the best value with the resources available. Each country will update and cost their national health plan, following a gap analysis between existing plans and this Strategy and other commitments. These National Health Plans will be the centre of health development in the country, its implementation continuously monitored and its content regularly reviewed and updated.

93. As health is influenced by interventions in many other sectors, a multi-sectoral approach is a cornerstone of any Health Strategy. Thus, the African Health Strategy recognizes and supports African commitments to address broader issues that are undermining health, including poverty, marginalisation and displacement, poor governance, socio-political instability, economic underdevelopment, lack of infrastructure (energy, transport, water and sanitation), low educational levels, agricultural vulnerability, environmental degradation and gender inequality. The health sector will continuously engage with these other sectors to encourage decisions and actions that give the best return for health.

Role of Stakeholders

(a) The African Union
101. The African Union will, among other things, undertake advocacy, resources mobilisation, monitoring and evaluation, and dissemination of best practices and harmonise of policies and strategies at continental level for the implementation of this Strategy. In this regards the Commission will require to develop a costed implementation plan.

(b) Regional Economic Communities
102. Regional Economic Communities will, among other things, provide technical support to Member countries including training in the area of health systems strengthening, advocate for increased resources for health systems strengthening, harmonise the implementation of national Action Plans, monitor progress, identify and share best practices.

(c) Member States
103. Member States will review their Health Plans and will address issues of accountability within the health sector. They will also put in place advocacy, resource mobilisation and budgetary provision as a demonstration of ownership. They will also undertake monitoring and evaluation at country level and report to the RECs and AU Commission. They will also ensure participation of civil society and the private sector in national health programs and create a conducive environment for this to happen. Member states will also harmonise their policies and strategies to ensure coherence.

(d) Partners
104. In line with the Paris principle multi-lateral and bi-lateral organizations, international and national civil society organizations and other development partners will align their financial and technical assistance and cooperation plans with national and regional needs and priorities for implementation of the Africa Health Strategy.”