I hope that most of you have already heard of the launch of the new book“African Health Leaders; making change and claiming the future” which was first launched in September 2014 during the UN General Assembly in New York. A number of contributions by the Ashgovnet community through this Discussion Forum have made their way into this book with acknowledgements. The book is edited by yours truly Dr. Francis Omaswa and Lord Nigel Crisp
and published by the Oxford University Press (OUP). There are supporting statements from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and the Head Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank, Dr. Tim Evans. It is available for order online at Amazon and the OUP distribution systems in the countries.
So what is this book about?
Most accounts of health and health care in Africa are written by foreigners. This book starts to redress that balance.
The contributors to this book represent only a tiny fraction of the many other Africans who have achieved so much under some of the most difficult circumstances in
the world yet their work is neither documented nor recognized. The contributors are 23 Africans and one European from across three generations, 14 African countries and with a gender balance. The authors are individuals who have personally contributed to major achievements in
health in their countries in diverse health fields as celebrated actual doers themselves and not just the usual commentators.
The experiences described by the authors are unique and are significant in that they have never before been told in the same original and authentic narration.
The book recognizes that Africa is more stable and more hopeful again following the disappointments that dashed the pre and post-independence
high expectations. The African Union is more about people centered development and has zero tolerance for illegitimacy. This is backed by a strong global movement on equity, social justice and solidarity. As aresult of all this African economies are growing.
The book calls upon Africans especially the techno-professionals to step up and do more for themselves and their people and be more accountable.
The book calls Africa’s international partners to walk the talk in fulfilling the rhetoric of seeing Africa in a new way by genuinely supporting the growth of African institutions and individuals that are rooted in the culture and context of the African situation.
The rawmaterials upon which to build are right there in the countries as demonstrated by the achievements narrated in the book.
This is how the much vaunted ownership and sustainable solutions will be generated and
A distinctive vision for the future is articulated in the book where health is made in the homes of the people, universal health coverage that leaves no one behind and unrelenting pursuit of quality. The book looks forward to a world where we are all working together in partnership; learning from each other in collaboration, co-development and solidarity.
What difference do we expect this book to make?
This book is timely as its release coincides with UN discussions on the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped that the book will contribute to these discussions; a reason it was launched during the last Assembly in New York by the President of the UN General Assembly HE Sam Kuteesa with the Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
So far the book has had a fair airing during three separate launch events in New York, at the Aspen Institute in Washington DC, two in Cape Town during the Global Forum on Health Systems Research, two events in London including at the Houses of Parliament in UK and in Kampala by the Prime Minister. Other opportunities to disseminate the message of the book are planned.
Over time especially if African techno-professionals heed the call to them, the book will contribute to resetting our mind set for new relationships that will accelerate not only health but overall development in Africa. I have been further encouraged by a publication last month by the consortium of African National Science Academies with the title “Mindset shifts for ownership of our continent’s development agenda”.
I encourage you all to read the new book "African Health Leaders; making change and claiming the future". We welcome your comments and offers to
debate, discuss and disseminate the message of this book through individual contact, country or regional events.