According to the 2018 WHO Global Health Expenditure Database, African countries are gradually increasing domestic investments in health with 35 out of 55 AU Member States (over 64%) having increased the percentage of their Gross Domestic Product invested in health over the previous financial year.
However, while African countries have made huge strides in increasing domestic investments in health, only 2 out of the 55 AU Member States meet Africa’s target of dedicating at least 15% of the government budget to health and do not reach the suggested threshold of US$86.30 per person required to provide a basic package of health services.
Yet, more than half of Africa’s population currently lacks access to essential health services, while millions die every year from commonly preventable diseases.
To help tackle this, African leaders will gather ahead of the 32nd African Union Summit, to launch a new initiative aimed at increasing commitments for health and accelerating path towards Universal Healthcare Coverage .
Rwandan, President Paul Kagame, who doubles as the Chairperson of the African Union (AU), is expected to chair the conference, according to a statement from the organisers.
The conference scheduled for 10 – 11 February 2019 is expected to be graced by Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway; António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations; and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dubbed the Africa Leadership Meeting: Investing in Health, it will be a platform bringing together governments, private sector and the global development community to coordinate and accelerate progress toward achieving universal health coverage.