African Union Summit on Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development


Finance Briefing

Technical Briefing on the state of health financing in Africa, High Level Dialogue on health financing

African Union Commission side event on health financing

Over 50 high level participants gathered during the African Union Summit to discuss health financing in Africa. Co-chaired by Bience Gawannas, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs and Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director of UNECA, the session highlighted the poor level of health spending in the region which as described by WHO Regional Director AFRO Dr Luis Sambo 'falls substantially below the 15% minimum percent health allocation and 34 dollar per capita minimum'. The meeting concluded that there is a strong need for increased resources for health on the continent and that these resources need to be looked at in terms of per capita spending, as the allocation of 15% of the budget is often not sufficient. Recommendations for increasing the fiscal space included social and community based health insurance and innovative ways of raising revenues such as taxes on specific goods. Participants also noted that though increased health spending is important effective use of resources is equally key. Strong evidence based costed national plans led by Ministries and supported by partners was defined as a prerequisite for better performance in health. Partners also noted the importance of looking at health issues in an integrated manner, planning for both strengthening of health systems and specific programme issues.

Address: Rotimi Sankore

Coordinator, Africa Public Health Alliance & 15% + Campaign, and Secretary, Africa Public Health Parliamentary Network:

“Going straight into the theme of the dialogue, the most important question for us to consider is why investment in health is arguably the most crucial investment any government can make. In the African context this means we need to appreciate the scale of the challenge we face. ... Our Heads of State in April 2001 made Africa’s first major collective commitment to health financing by committing to allocate at least 15% of annual budgets to health. ...Nine years after the Abuja commitments, only 3 countries are currently meeting this pledge, although 6 have previously done so.“