on Monday, 16 January 2017.

Dear Colleagues,

This blog has not been released in this space for some time. This was due to upgrade work on our website which has now been completed. However, I have been writing the and publishing the blogs in the Africa Health Journal every two months and all the issues can be accessed in the Discussion Forum at

Please read and feel free to comment as in the past.

The months leading to the end of the year 2016 saw a flurry of activity around positioning for the acceleration of the achievement of SDGs. At ACHEST we convened several meetings including a Regional Consultation of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions in September 2016 with support from IDRC of Canada and the 3rd African Health Systems Governance Network in October, 2016 supported by the USAID. In November, 2016, ACHEST participated at a meeting in Rio de Jenairo and at the Global summit on Health Systems Research in Vancouver. In December 2016, one of our colleagues was at another meeting on SDGs convened by the UN in Vienna while I attended two meetings in Geneva on Universal Health Coverage and a High Level Ministerial meeting on the UN Secretary General Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth two other ACHEST colleagues were on mission to Nigeria to monitor migration of health workers.

So with all this activity, are we going where we want to go with special reference to rural and poor urban communities in developing countries? Are we on the most desirable track to get there with the SDGs at the earliest and “leaving no one behind” as the slogan says?
This is how I see it. Our first and most important job is to create the right climate of opinion that will enable the global and regional actors to support country health systems that leave no one behind. The future health system should be one that is “wellness-based as opposed to illness-based” systems of today.


on Wednesday, 18 May 2016.

Dear Colleagues,

Here is our topic for May and June 2016.
The next 69 World Health Assembly (WHA) will start next week, 23 – 28 May, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. Member states must be now be in advanced stages of preparing for this annual event and in one of our previous discussions we addressed the ideal approaches for preparing for the WHA and other international meetings. I have looked at the agenda for the 69 WHA and want to draw the following Agenda items to the special attention of the African delegations.

1. Agenda 11 on WHO Reform: WHO has gone through tough times in the last few years and there are voices that are calling for the role of WHO downgraded. Yet without a strong global organization which brings together all member states with equal voice around one table to address global health matters, global health and health security will be at increased risk. We need to support and strengthen WHO. The funding of WHO needs to be increased but also the monitoring of performance and accountability by WHO by member states should increase. Elections for the new Director General of WHO are around the corner and it is high time that an African occupied this position.


on Friday, 15 January 2016.

Dear Colleagues,
Welcome to 2016. Here is our discussion topic for January and February 2016:
Who will prevail; microorganisms or human beings?
Since time immemorial microbes haveoccasioned epidemics and pandemics that have
killed millions of people and intheir wake disrupting livelihoods and causing social
and economic disorder thefinancial value of which is impossible to estimate
accurately but must bein zillions of dollars. The recent Ebolaoutbreaks in West
Africa and the devastation and fear they wreaked in thosecountries and round the
world are still fresh in our minds.

Restructuring the African Union Commission is an opportunity for African and global health.

on Wednesday, 18 January 2017.

The African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government in their meeting in July 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda ordered that the African Union Commission secretariat (AUC) be restructured so that it can execute its roles better as an efficient organization. Such restructuring will have implications for the way in which the Africa Union Commission operates in many areas of work including its work on health. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda,
the current Chairperson of the AU was charged with the responsibility of overseeing this restructuring of the AUC. President Kagame has appointed a team to make proposals that will be submitted to the next AU Summit in January, 2017 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This work is important because right now there are discussions about the how the AUC will work with other partners in health especially the Regional Office for Africa of the World Health Organization and the Regional Economic Communities such as the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and East Central and Southern African Health Community (ECSA-HC). Other players include multilateral and bilateral agencies, philanthropy and the Civil Society Organizations sometimes called non state actors that include the private sector.

Who Will Coordinate the Global Health Workforce Agenda?

on Wednesday, 18 January 2017.

Dear Colleagues,

This is our topic for July and August 2016.

Our last discussion was about the May 2016, World Health Assembly and among the many activities that took place during the WHA was the “celebration” of 10 years of the life of Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA) and the transformation of this institution into a Network with a secretariat at the WHO Department of Health Workforce and an independent Management Board. The question that arose was whether this event was a celebration or a funeral for GHWA? I argued that it was both. Why?
A celebration because the founding documents of GHWA are beautiful with very clear objectives, deliverables and methods of work and in a short time we achieved a lot. We raised the visibility of the Health Workforce crisis, we quickly generated new knowledge on country and global work through the work of Task Forces and Working groups and we convened the First ever Global Forum on HRH and have held two other to follow on that. We have succeeded in having HWF at a target in the SDGs and the UNSG has always been supportive as he sent us a personal video message at the first Global Forum in Kampala and now he has appointed a High level Commission on health employment.