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Health Financing Takes Centre Stage at Development Conference

  • Tatenda Gumbo

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaks during an interview in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaks during an interview in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

World leaders meeting in Addis Ababa this week at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development have urged concerted continental and global efforts for accelerated domestic financing for health.

The leaders also emphasized the continued importance of international support to Africa’s disease responses in the spirit of shared responsibility and global solidarity.

Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia told world leaders the transformation of Africa’s economies and countries will never be complete without claiming victory its diseases, particularly, the three big epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

“The transformation of our economies and our countries will never be complete without claiming victory over diseases, particularly, the three big epidemics of our time – HIV, tuberculosis and malaria” said Mr. Desalegn.

“Our founders urged us to unite. To defeat these diseases, we must unite not only amongst ourselves but also with our international development partners in order to raise enough resources for the final push against these diseases”.

Most African countries, according to the meeting, have recognized and responded to the need to diversify and expand funding sources for health to reduce aid dependency.

Between 2006 and 2011 global domestic investment doubled spending on AIDS, TB and malaria. In the last four years, African countries have increased their domestic resources to fight AIDS by 150%.

To increase funding in the sector and others, African Union chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said Africa must move towards rapid industrialization.

Economic growth, she said, will result in more domestic resources being allocated to social service delivery including health.

“Africa must move on a path to rapid industrialisation. Economic growth will result in more domestic resources being allocated to social service delivery including health” said Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Mcleo Mapfumo, with United Nations Association Zimbabwe, attended the meeting.

He said the leadership shown by all stakeholders is a positive sign for the post-2015 development agenda and financing the agenda.

"Some of the recommendations coming up is the issue of reviewing tax policies. Government is supposed to review the issue of how they are collecting their tax and how they are also reviewing the issue of revenue collection," said Mapfumo.

He added among the recommendations was the issue of the informal sector, like in Zimbabwe, and how those in the sector can be held accountable and contribute to financing.

The final draft of financing recommendations will be completed and released at the end of the summit Thursday.

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