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Taking healthcare to the masses

Even though it is considered a fundamental right, many people in Africa lack access to basic health care. It’s against this backdrop that the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the 2015 Universal Health Coverage (UHC) that advocates for access to affordable, quality healthcare for everybody.

The endeavour towards UHC has received great support aimed at assisting African countries implement health reforms. At the just-concluded Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI), African heads of state and partners vowed to fast-track progress toward UHC in Africa.

The World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB, and Malaria (Global fund) committed to invest Sh12.6 trillion ($24 billion) in Africa over the next three to five years to support this endeavour.

“African countries can become more competitive in the global economy by making several strategic investments, including investing more in their people, their most prized resource,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.

“A critical part of this commitment is to accelerate progress on UHC, ensuring that everyone everywhere has the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life,”he added. African countries have come up with policies to ensure the achievement of universal health care.

In April 2001, the African Union countries met and agreed to set aside 15 per cent of their annual budget towards improving health and also urged donor countries to scale up support in what is referred to as the Abuja declaration.

So far many countries have scaled up the proportions of government expenditure to health. There has been a significant global commitment towards this cause.

For instance, the government of Japan will support the World Bank and WHO’s annual report to track UHC progress in Africa. The World Bank and WHO have agreed to hold in 2017 in Tokyo a high-level annual meeting on monitoring progress toward UHC in Africa.

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