“We should strive to have a health system where the population does not face financial catastrophe. This is not possible without supported health workforce and strong health governance, a driver to UHC which is a political choice.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the WHO Director-General said in a video recorded speech played at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Consultation Meeting on Governance for Health in Africa.
The three day (16th-17th July 2019) Consultation Meeting was organized by the African Platform on Human Resources for Health (APHRH) hosted at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) at the Commonwealth Conference Center, Munyonyo, Kampala.
The meeting brought together 70 delegates from Sixteen countries within and outside Africa that included health leaders, academia, policy makers, representatives of governments, United Nation Agencies, researchers, CSOs, journalists among others to discuss challenges of poverty, disease and ignorance faced by Africa and chat a way forward on getting rid of these challenges so that no one is left behind.
Prof. Khama Odera Rogo of World Bank while giving a Keynote speech on the topic: Is Africa waiting to be saved decried that it is sad to see everyone coming to Africa leaving with more than they brought. Health has become a market because the busiest department in Health Ministries in Africa is the procurement department. Let us not turn health into a market place!
“We are training health professionals who are not been employed. A country like Kenya trains 69,000 nurses in a year and cannot even employ 20,000 and we do not want them to go to other countries. Why are we training them? It is the telecommunication companies that are employing the nurses in selling airtime.” Kharma Rogo said.
While Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST in framing the conference noted that when we got independence from colonialism 60 years ago, our leaders then told us that the purpose of independence was to rid Africa of poverty, disease and ignorance. The East Asian countries that got independence together with Africa and with similar development indices used this opportunity much better and some of them are now donors to Africa. For Africa to transform, there is a need for us to continuously improve our ability to govern health.
Time is not on our side. UHC implementation ends in 2030 and we are only left with 11 years for its implementation. We are losing a lot of time. We need to encourage governments to discuss UHC at the African Union level so that we can have more resources going to support UHC and thus fast tracking its implementation. Prosper Tumusiime, Director Health Systems, WHO AFRO stressed.
The Vice President Edward Ssekandi while closing the three day Special Consultation Meeting informed health leaders that the government is in the process of enacting a health insurance scheme for the people of Uganda.
The Special Consultation Meeting developed a communiqué whose content was drawn from recommendations and discussions stimulated by the rich presentations which will then be presented to the Cabinet of Ugandan government and the African Union for forward consideration.