Health Campaign Countdown to AU Summit
The Africa Public Health 15% Now Campaign has launched a 30 day countdown to the mid year African Union summit which holds in Egypt from the 24th of June.
The 30 day countdown which starts from the 15th of May to the 15th of June is aimed at mobilising national level and continental support for a civil society message to urge African Heads of States to restate their commitment to and urgently implement the Abuja 2001 pledge by African Heads of State to allocate 15% of national budgets to health.
In a statement to launch the Countdown, 15% Now Campaign Coordinator Rotimi Sankore stated:
"The countdown to the coming African Union summit is an opportunity for Africans and friends of Africa of all persuasions to remind African Heads of State and government to meet their commitments to health development and financing. Unlike any other matter, disease and non disease issues affect every single person regardless of age, religion, race, gender or any other consideration."
He underlined that "African citizens unlike many leaders, do not have the options of going abroad to treat illnesses. Indeed it is a vote of no confidence in their own health systems, and lack of faith in their own governments ability to provide health care that leads many of our leaders to flee abroad at the slightest sign of ill health".
He called on African civil society and citizens to sign on to the message to the summit and the rolling 15% Now petition to the AU and member states stating that "the new Chair of the African Union Commission His Excellency Jean Ping of Gabon has an excellent opportunity to utilise the implementation of the Abuja 15%Pledgeto actualise the implementation of the African Union Health Strategy and other health frameworks finalised last year by the AU Social AffairsCommissionunder the leadership of his predecessorProfessorAlpha Konare.
The first phase of presentation of the message to African Heads of State will be done at the national levels on the 15th of June includingpublic and media presentations. The presentation to the AU and the continental level media and public Presentation will be done in Egypt on the eve of the Summit. A series of solidarity and campaign events will be also organised at national levels during the countdown.
Organisations and citizens are urged to support the message by sending their names, organisation and country as applicable to - email@example.com,and . On line sign-ups will also soon be possible.
The Civil Society Message to Egypt AU Summit and Heads State and Government is Below
To Heads of States and Governments of African Union Member States
His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, Chairman of the African Union and President of the Republic of Tanzania
His Excellency Jean Ping, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union
15 May 2008
Civil Society Message of Concern on Non-Implementation of the 2001 Pledge by African Governments to Allocate 15% of National Budgets to Health
Your Excellencies, we write to express our grave concern that 7 years after the Abuja April 2001Pledgeby African Heads of Sates and Governments to allocate 15% of national budgets to health, this pledge has not been met by most member states with only a hand full even moving towards or meeting the commitment.
Our serious concern is based on the fact that unlike some other pledges which may go unmet without instant andgrievousconsequences for citizens of our countries, the non implementation of the 15% pledge is rapidly devastating our populations and countries through the deaths of fellow African’s on such a scale that annual deaths from both disease and non disease related health issues now exceed the populations of many African countries combined and also surpass the deaths from any combination of modern day wars and conflicts.
For Tuberculosis: African’s living with TB are currently estimated to be 4.2 million with 2.8 million new cases annually making TB one of Africa’s greatest Public Health threats. African TB deaths are now running at 639,089 per annum – the highest in the world (38.6% of global deaths). TB is also the biggest killer of HIV positive people an increasing number of which are women; Africa’s pivotal countries, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, DRC, South Africa have the continents highest overall TB prevalence levels; and a person with active TB can infect 10 to 15 persons a year. Latest Stop TB partnership / World Bank analysis indicates that the cost of not treating TB to Africa between 2006 and 2015 would be $519bn while TB can be controlled with $20bn in the same period.
For HIV: Latest statistics for 2007 indicate that HIV prevalence in Africa is 22.5 million of the global total of 33.2 million, with 1.7 million new infections annually; Annual AIDS related death figures for Africa are1.6 millionand Aids Orphans are estimated at 12 million; the 10 countries globally with highest HIV-TB co infection are African 9 being from SADC and the 10thKenya.
For Malaria:Annual African deaths are estimated at 1,136,000 (89.3%) of the world total with an increasing impact on maternal, infant and child health. Malaria costs Africa more than $12bn in lost GDP annually although it can be controlled for a fraction of this sum.
For Maternal Mortality: Latest comparable global maternal death statistics indicate that of the 536,000 women that died in 2005 of childbirth related complications, about half or 261,000 were African women. The 2005 figures also indicate that Africa is the only region where maternal deaths have increased since 1990 up from 205,000. Maternal deaths which is almost 100% preventable dropped in every other continent over the same period.
For Child Mortality:Most worryingly for the future of Africa, an estimated 4.8 million children under the age of 5 years die annually. Just five diseases - pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and AIDS - account for half of these deaths.
Often ignored environmental health issues, or neglected diseasessuch as river blindness or Onchocerciasis and Human African Trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness together affect around 60m people in 36 African countries - and in turn facilitate vulnerability to HIV, TB, malaria, maternal and child mortality.
This loss of over 8 million lives a year to preventable, treatable and manageable diseases and health conditions – isunacceptable and unsustainable.
The above also constitutes an infringement on the right to health of African citizens as guaranteed in Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, Article 12 of the International Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, The World Health Organisation constitution, and other instruments.
We Fully Acknowledgethe efforts of African governments to address Africa’s enormous Public Health crisis through: the AU Abuja April 2001 declaration incorporating the pledge by member states to allocate at least 15% of the national budgets to health; the 2007 African Union Health Strategy and other African health frameworks such as the Maputo Plan on Reproductive and Sexual Health, the AU plan on HIV, TB and Malaria, the African Pharmaceutical Plan and the health based MDGs.
However current evidence indicates gravely that it is not just enough to make declarations. The landmark AU African Health Strategy and other Health Frameworks recently finalised by the African Union Commission must also besustainably financed by our own governments if they are not to become yet another collection of reference papers on Africa’s failedattemptsto resolve its most serious developmentchallenges.
Africa’s human capital is its greatest asset and that there can be no competing priorities more important than the lives of citizens – as other issues are meaningless if the people they are meant for are dead. Indeed noeffortsat sustainable social and economic development can besuccessfulwhen the average healthy life expectancy of African countries has now fallen to less than 40 years.
We therefore urge Excellencies to:
1. Restate their commitment to the Abuja 15% pledge and increasing overall per capita expenditure on health at the next AU Summit and to accelerate its implementation.
2. Take urgent steps to ensure that African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development beginimmediatelyto work with Health Ministers through a joint meeting to develop the details for the implementation of the Africa Union Health Strategy and other Health Frame works.
3. Facilitate the African Union and UN-Economic Commission for Africa to implement the recommendations for the joint meeting of Finance and Health Ministers as adopted by the conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development organised by both AU and ECA in April 2008.
4. Recognise that just as the global community urges the more industrialised countries to meet their own commitments to global health, that African governments are also expected to honour national commitments.
5. Ensure that regions, states, provinces and local governments within countries recognise that they have a responsibility to provide needs based primary health care services and as such must along with national governments allocate commensurate amounts of financing for health.
6. Work urgently with national, sub regional and continental parliaments to ensure implementation of the AU Abuja 15% commitment, combined with commensurate overall increase of per capita expenditure on health and implementation of the Africa Union Health Strategy and other African HealthFrameworks.
7. Recognise the crucial role of health workers and professionals in delivering health care, and ensure strengthening of health systems to guaranteeretention of health professionals andsustainable quality health care.
8. Through the African Union and UN-ECA work with civil society to ensure that a progress report on implementation of the 15% pledge is on the agenda of the January 2009 African Union Summit
Signatories [ to be added below]
Organisations and citizens are urged to support the message by sending their names, organisation and country as applicable to - ,firstname.lastname@example.org. On line sign-ups will also soon be possible.
Africa Public Health – “15% Now!” Campaign: Background Note for Editors.
The Africa Public Health “15% Now!” campaign launched on December 10 2006 - International Human Rights Day - is the first to articulate Public Health for Africa as a Rights and Development issue across Africa and beyond. It brings together actors from various key sectors of civil society.
The Campaign is based on the premise that “we all have to be alive and well to exercise any other rights in any meaningful way” and therefore that Right to Health and to Healthcare is arguably the most crucial right of all as articulated by Article 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the constitution of the World Health Organisation and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Current social development and health indicators from international and African institutions show that over 8 million African lives are lost annually to preventable, treatable and manageable health conditions and diseases mainly - Child Mortality, Maternal Mortality, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and TB.
Any loss of life to disease is bad enough. The annual loss of populations equivalent to entire African countries - and over a few years greater than the losses from all modern day global wars and conflicts combined is both unacceptable and unsustainable, and brings Africa closer to the slippery slope to collapse of society and extinction. Public Health is not realisable without adequate and sustainable health financing. Meeting the Abuja 2001 by African leaders to allocate 15% or more of annual budgets to health is crucial to Public Health in Africa. Yet this pledge remains largely unmet with just two countries, Botswana and Seychelles demonstrating their commitment to the 15% pledge.
The key objective of the Africa Public Health 15% Now Campaign is to engage the African Union, sub-Regional Economic Communities such as the East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) etc, their institutions / member countries, and the African public towards: 1) Promoting greater awareness and understanding of African Health Issues 2) Actualisation of the AU AfricanHealthStrategy, other African Health Frameworks, Health based MDG’s; and Universal Access Targets for Prevention, Treatment and Care; 3) Adopting Comprehensive Health Policies based on a Public Health Rights and Development philosophy - and mobilising the commitment of financial and other resources for sustainable implementation of health policies - including through meeting the 15% pledge.
The Public Health 15% Now Campaign will also engage global stake-holders and actors including donors, the UN, EU and their institutions, World Bank, IMF, and international Non-governmental Institutions and organisations especially those concerned with health, social and economic development.
Support the Africa Public Health Rights Alliance 15% Now Campaign for the Right to Health, Sustainable Health Development and Financing in Africa - http://www.africa15percentcampaign.org
Africa Public Health “15% Now!” Campaign
11 Dideolu St, Ogba, Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: +23416611899 ;+234 703 6886 199; Tel/Fax: +2341492556
Africa Public Health “15% Now!” Campaign
AFA, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2DQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7226 2933, Fax +44 (0)20 7226 2934