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To Continue Progress, African Leaders Must Boost Domestic Health Funding

“In the last 10 years, Africa has transformed itself from the stereotype of a dark continent of death, disease and destruction to one of triumph and growth,” Mustapha Kaloko, commissioner for social affairs for the African Union Commission, writes in a Thomson Reuters Foundation opinion piece. “Today, according to IMF estimates, seven African countries appear on the list of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies,” he notes, adding, “Across the continent, improved standards of living have been registered” and “indicators for health in Africa have registered tremendous improvements.” He states, “In the field of infectious diseases, the continent has been pulling all the stops on its way to defeating HIV, tuberculosis and malaria,” adding, “In achieving these results, partnerships with development partners” — such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and PEPFAR — “have been fundamental.”

“To perform even better, Africa must invest vigorously in finding self-reliant ways to financing the fight against these diseases,” Kaloko continues, adding, “Domestic finances set aside to build African health will enhance country ownership and sustainability in the continent’s health programs.” The 2001 Abuja Declaration, renewed recently in 2013 at the Abuja+12 meeting, and the African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity (2012-2015) have helped “African countries take action to boost domestic funding for health,” he states, adding, “Africa must continue to seek more ways to stand on its feet and march forward towards controlling these diseases” (11/15).