The report provides a detailed account of steps taken by African governments to achieve UHC in their countries, reflecting on successes, barriers and lessons learned on the journey towards providing equitable access, quality health care and financial protection as envisioned within an African context.
All sessions are now available on demand
AHAIC 2021 is an African-led biennial global health convening hosted by Amref Health Africa, a leading health development organisation in Africa founded in 1957. This year, the virtual conference is co-convened by Africa CDC, Roche, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
Gain a deeper understanding of the greatest health challenges in Africa – connected issues, such as education, economics.
Use this unique opportunity to network with influencers from different sectors and find opportunities to collaborate.
Be a part of conversations that help influence policymaker and donor priorities to advance Universal Health Coverage in Africa.
The President of the Republic of Kenya
President Uhuru Kenyatta is Kenya’s Forth President.
He has previously served as nominated Member of Parliament, Leader of Opposition, Minister for Local Government and Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance.
Since taking office in 2013, President Kenyatta has often alluded that Kenya’s greatest resource is her people and has pursued a number of policy initiatives aimed at building this valuable human resource. One of these initiatives is the roll out of the country’s new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC) intended to nurture talents of young learners. Additionally, the government has ensured the implementation of a hundred per cent transition to secondary school.
On Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), President Kenyatta has continuously emphasized that technical and vocational training will equip the youth with requisite skills that will enable them to use their knowledge and talents to secure gainful employment in the increasingly competitive job environment.
Furthermore, the government has commissioned innovation hubs and setup of the Ajira Digital Programme aimed at empowering over one million young people to access digital job opportunities. Additionally, he has challenged young Kenyans to develop innovations aligned to the country’s development agenda and transform the lives of ordinary Kenyans.
On assuming his second term of office in 2017, President Kenyatta’s administration has prioritized universal healthcare, housing, industrialization, and agriculture, dubbed the ‘Big Four’ as key focus areas of the government’s efforts for development.
President Kenyatta serves as the Global Champion of the Young People’s Agenda. This initiative, a partnership between the United Nations Youth Strategy 2030 and Generation Unlimited, aims at catalysing pro-youth actions to address the dreams, ambitions and hopes of 1.8 billion young people globally.
He is also current chair of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, with 48 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific.
President Kenyatta was recently appointed as Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) is a coalition of 49 Heads of State and Government established to drive accountability and action for results against malaria, NTDs, RMNCAH and nutrition.
At the regional and continental level, President Kenyatta has been on the forefront of promotion of peace and security in the region and has been a strong advocate on intra-Africa trade as means of spurring development and positioning Africa as a global trade player.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017.
He is the first WHO Director-General to have been elected from multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and is the first person from the WHO African Region to serve as WHO's chief technical and administrative officer.
Immediately after taking office on 1 July 2017 Dr Tedros outlined five key priorities for the Organization: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO.
Prior to his election as WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016. In this role he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012, where he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system. All roads lead to universal health coverage for Dr Tedros, and he has demonstrated what it takes to expand access to health care with limited resources.
The transformation he led as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health improved access to health care for millions of people. Under his leadership Ethiopia invested in critical health infrastructure, expanded its health workforce, and developed innovative health financing mechanisms.
Beyond Ethiopia, Dr Tedros’ global leadership on malaria, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health has been immensely impactful. He was elected as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Board in 2009, and previously served as Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.
Born in the city of Asmara, Eritrea, Dr Tedros holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London. Dr Tedros is globally recognised as a health scholar, researcher, and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and leadership in emergency responses to epidemics.
Throughout his career Dr Tedros has published numerous articles in prominent scientific journals, and received awards and recognition from across the globe. He received the Decoration of the Order of Serbian Flag in 2016, and was awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of public health in 2011.
Chairman, Amref Health Africa International Board of Directors
Charles Okeahalam was appointed Chairman of Amref Health Africa’s International Board of Directors, effective 1st January 2020. Charles Okeahalam is a co-founder of AGH Group and has served as CEO of the company from 2003 to 2018. AGH Group, founded in 2001, is an investment company with holdings in industrial equipment, energy, and REITs. Mr. Okeahalam has served as a non-executive director of several companies including ABSA, Sun International, South African Airways and the Bond Exchange and as chairman of Heritage Bank and chairman of the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company. Prior to AGH Group, he was a professor of finance at the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS) between 1998 to 2002. He has served on the Council of the University of Cape Town and as a Trustee of the African Union Foundation. Charles is involved in the support and sponsorship of education, particularly for female students from low-income households. His academic qualifications include a Ph.D. in Economics-(Econometrics), University of London awarded in 1991. He has researched and written extensively on finance in Africa and in 2010 earned a D.Sc. from the University of Exeter for this. He has received several awards, notably in 2001, a Houblon-Norman Senior Fellowship of the Bank of England. He is also an Honorary Professor at WITS.
Group Chief Executive Officer · Amref Health Africa
A passionate advocate for pro-poor Universal Health Coverage, Githinji Gitahi joined Amref Health Africa as the Global Chief Executive Officer in June 2015. Amref Health Africa, founded in 1957, is the largest Africa-led international organization, reaching more than 11 million people each year through 150 health-focused projects across 35 countries. Until his appointment to Amref Health Africa, Dr Gitahi was the Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, Smile Train International. Prior to that, Dr Gitahi was Managing Director for Monitor Publications in Uganda as well as General Manager for Marketing and Circulation in East Africa for the Nation Media Group. He held progressively senior positions at GlaxoSmithKline and worked at the Avenue Group. Dr Gitahi is co-Chair of the UHC2030 Steering Committee, a global World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO) initiative for Universal Health Coverage (UHC). He serves on a number of Boards, notably - Board of Directors of The Standard Group in Kenya, Board of Trustees of Safaricom Foundation and Governing Board of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and prevention (Africa CDC). Dr Gitahi holds a bachelor’s degree in Medicine from the University of Nairobi, a master’s degree in Business Administration from the United States International University; as well as a Certificate for Strategic Perspectives for Nonprofit Management from Harvard University. In December 2018, Dr. Gitahi was bestowed the 2018 ‘Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear’ (MBS) by the President of Kenya, in recognition of his outstanding contribution and commitment to the health sector.
Director, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr John Nkengasong serves as Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, a specialized technical institution of the African Union. Earlier this year, he was appointed as one of the WHO Director-General’s Special Envoys on COVID-19 Preparedness and Response, and most recently was awarded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award for his contributions to the continental response in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
Dr Nkengasong is an authority on implementing HIV therapy in resource-challenged areas and a prolific author on the topics of HIV diagnosis, pathogenesis, and drug resistance. Prior to his current position, he served as Acting Deputy Principal Director of the Center for Global Health and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV and TB for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
He serves on several international advisory boards including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative – CEPI, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) among others. He has authored over 250 peer-review articles in international journals and published several book chapters.
Minister of Health, Ethiopia
Dr. Lia Tadesse Gebremedhin became the Minister of Health (MoH) of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in March 2020. Prior to this appointment, she served as State Minister of Health since November 2018 leading the national health programs under the Health Sector Transformation Strategy. Dr. Lia is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with extensive experience as a clinician, in healthcare leadership, academia, and in hospital and program management with over twenty years’ experience. Prior to joining MoH, Dr. Lia Tadesse served as Program Director at the University of Michigan’s Center for International Reproductive Health Training (CIRHT) in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she has successfully partnered with several institutions, both in Ethiopia and Rwanda, to increase the quality of reproductive health services and training. Serving as the CEO and Vice Provost of St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Addis Ababa for seven years, Dr Lia has led the hospital’s services and academic reforms, including forging collaborative relationships with several national and international stakeholders. Dr. Lia, was also Project Director of USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) at Jhpiego-Ethiopia prior to joining CIRHT after leaving SPHMMC. Dr. Lia’s passion is strengthening and reforming health systems and has received recognition for her accomplishments, advocacy for gender equity in access to quality health services and training. Dr. Lia Tadesse earned her medical degree from Jimma University, speciality training in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Addis Ababa University and a Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration from Jimma University.
Health Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Health, Republic of Kenya
Former member of the Senate of the Republic of Kenya, as first Senator to represent the County of Nyeri. Previously served as Cabinet Minister for Information and Communications, and Member of Parliament for Mukurweini Constituency. Worked to develop, craft and pass legislative actions, bills and amendments that advanced the interests of the Kenyan people. Pioneered the laying of innovative technologies such as The East African Marine System (T.E.A.M.S) – The Fibre Optic Project for Eastern Africa that has transformed the information and telecommunications industry in Kenya and was Minister at the launch of the first global mobile money system - the now famous Mpesa. Previously served as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Technology, Member Senate Standing Committee on Education and Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Commerce and Budget. Other past positions also include Committee Member, The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Member, the parliamentarian network of the World Bank and Chair, The Finance, Trade, Tourism and Planning Parliamentary Committee.
Minister of Health, Republic of Rwanda
Dr. Ngamije Daniel is the Rwandan Minister of Health since February 2020, he leads the development and execution of the Health Sector Plan. Prior to this he served as the Director for malaria and neglected tropical diseases in WHO’s Country Office, based in Kigali. Dr Daniel has served in different capacities in the entire Rwandan Health System since 1995 having held a wide range of leadership positions.
Regional Director for Africa, World Health Organization
Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti is the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa and the first woman to occupy this position. She was recently confirmed by the WHO Executive Board after her resounding re-lection for the second term. Over the past five years, Dr Moeti has led a Transformation Agenda that is widely acknowledged to have improved the performance and effectiveness of the Organization. She made tremendous progress through the Transformation Agenda, which include improved response capacity to health emergences like COVID-19 pandemic and Ebola virus outbreak. The flagship of the Transformation Agenda has been the successful eradication of wild polio virus in the African region. The Transformation Agenda has since been adopted to inform WHO global reforms
Dr Moeti is a medical doctor and public health expert, with more than 40 years of national and international experience. She has worked with the WHO Regional Office for Africa, where she has held several senior positions, since 1999. Dr Moeti successfully led WHO’s “3 by 5” Initiative in the African Region, which aimed to expand access to antiretroviral therapy in countries. Prior to joining WHO, Dr Moeti worked with UNAIDS as the Team Leader of the Africa and Middle East Desk in Geneva, with UNICEF as a Regional Advisor, and with Botswana’s Ministry of Health in various capacities.
In recognition of her excellent service to humanity, Dr Moeti has received many accolades including an Honorary Fellowship from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Health and Allied Sciences in Ghana. She is a great champion for women in leadership in global health.
Chief Scientist, World Health Organization
Dr Soumya Swaminathan was appointed WHO’s first Chief Scientist in March 2019. A paediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes. Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy making, building research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva. She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and has published more than 350 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. She is an elected Foreign Fellow of the US National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of all three science academies in India. The Science division’s role is to ensure that WHO stays ahead of the curve and leverages advances in science and technology for public health and clinical care, as well as ensuring that the norms, standards and guidelines produced by WHO are scientifically excellent, relevant and timely. Her vision is to ensure that WHO is at the cutting edge of science and is able to translate new knowledge into meaningful impact on population health worldwide.
CEO, GAVI, THE VACCINE ALLIANCE
A medical doctor and infectious disease epidemiologist, Dr Seth Berkley joined Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance as its CEO in August 2011, spearheading its mission to protect the world’s poorest children by improving access to new and underused vaccines. In its 20 years of existence, Gavi has reached more than 820 million children in the 73 poorest countries. In 2015, Dr Berkley led Gavi to its second replenishment, raising US$ 7.5 billion in donor commitments. In June 2020, Dr Berkley led Gavi to its third successful replenishment, raising US$ 8.8 billion and exceeding the ask of at least US$ 7.4 billion in the presence of 42 heads of state. The ambitious goals for the 2021–2025 strategic period are to reach 300 million more children, preventing an additional 7–8 million deaths and contributing to a further US$ 80–100 billion in economic benefits. Dr Berkley is co-leading the Vaccines Pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, working to develop and distribute a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine globally. In July 2020, Fortune honoured him with a leadership award at Brainstorm Health, calling Gavi “arguably the most productive multilateral health collaboration in history.” Under Dr Berkley’s leadership, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance received the 2019 Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, as well as the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2020. Prior to Gavi, in 1996, Dr Berkley founded the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the first vaccine product development public-private sector partnership, where he served as President and CEO for 15 years. Under his leadership, IAVI created a virtual vaccine product development effort involving scientists from low-income countries, industry and academia – developing and testing HIV vaccines around the world. He also oversaw a global advocacy programme that ensured HIV vaccines received prominent attention in the media and in forums such as the G8, the European Union and the United Nations. Previously, Dr Berkley served as an officer of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation. He has worked for the Center for Infectious Diseases of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Massachusetts Department of Public Health; and the Carter Center, where he was assigned as an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in Uganda. Dr Berkley played a key role in Uganda’s first national HIV sero-survey and helped develop its national AIDS Control Program. He has been featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine; recognised by TIME magazine as one of “The TIME 100 – The World’s Most Influential People”; and named by WIRED magazine as among “The WIRED 25 – a salute to dreamers, inventors, mavericks, leaders.” His TED talks have been viewed by more than 2.3 million people, and he has published over 250 articles and opinion pieces. He has consulted or worked in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Dr Berkley sits on a number of international steering committees and corporate and not-for-profit boards, including those of Gilead Sciences and the New York Academy of Sciences, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Geneva’s Institute of Global Health in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr Berkley received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and trained in internal medicine at Harvard University. In 2013, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for services to global public health and advancing the right to health care for all.
Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
Dr. Natalia Kanem is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Dr. Kanem joined the United Nations in 2014 as UNFPA Representative in the United Republic of Tanzania, and served as Deputy Executive Director in charge of programmes from 2016 until her appointment as Executive Director in 2017. Previously, she served as founding president of ELMA Philanthropies, Inc., senior associate of the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, and as Ford Foundation Deputy Vice-President for peace and social justice programmes in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and North America. Dr. Kanem holds a medical degree from Columbia University in New York, a master’s degree in Public Health, with specializations in epidemiology and preventive medicine, from the University of Washington in Seattle and a bachelor’s degree in history and science from Harvard College.
Deputy CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
Anuradha Gupta is Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since joining Gavi in 2015, Anuradha has led efforts to put equity and gender at the centre of Gavi’s programmatic planning and to tailor support to countries within Gavi’s strategy. She has also driven efforts to create a new model of country-level Alliance support, through the establishment of the partners’ engagement framework (PEF). At the same time, Anuradha has helped to improve country ownership and leadership of Gavi-supported programmes while enhancing accountability for results. In 2019, Gavi received the prestigious Lasker~Bloomberg Public Service Award for providing sustained access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries, saving millions of lives and highlighting the power of immunisation to prevent diseases. Prior to Gavi, Anuradha served as Mission Director of the National Health Mission of India, where she ran the largest – and possibly most complex – public health programme in the world with an annual budget of US$ 3.5 billion. A passionate and influential advocate of women, young girls and children, Anuradha played a leading role in India’s efforts to eradicate polio transmission, reduce maternal and child mortality and revitalise primary health care. Anuradha has contributed towards a number of important global health initiatives. She served as a member of the Steering Committee for Child Survival Call to Action, co-chaired the Stakeholder Group for the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning and was a member of the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Reference Group. Anuradha served as Co-Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) and is currently a member of the PMNCH Board. She also played a role in shaping the Global Financing Facility (GFF) and is a member of the GFF Investors Group. From 2015-2018, Anuradha served on the Merck for Mothers Advisory Board. Anuradha holds an MBA from the University of Wollongong in Australia and received executive education from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Stanford Graduate School of Business and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. In 2015, she was named one of “300 Women Leaders in Global Health” by the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.
High Commissioner for the fight against COVID 19; former Minister of Health, Guinea Bissau
Dr. Magda Robalo is the High Commissioner for COVID-19, in charge of coordinating the National Response to the pandemic in Guinea-Bissau. She is the immediate past Minister of Public Health in the first parity Government of Guinea-Bissau. She is Adjunct Professor at Griffith University, member of the Malaria Elimination 8 Board and the Chair of the Ethics and Governance Committee of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
She joined the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998, to lead a distinguished career that spanned 20 years, after a stint at UNICEF and Plan International. In these two organizations, she was involved in boosting immunization, polio eradication and nutrition programmes in the former and in setting up a community malaria programme, built around education and revenue generation schemes for women in the rural, remote regions of Bafatá and Gabú in the latter. Dr Robalo held senior positions at WHO, serving as Malaria Regional Advisor (2002-2007) and WHO Representative to South Africa, Zambia, Namibia and Ghana (2007-2015) before becoming the Director of Communicable Diseases (2015-2018), leading WHO’s work on HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Climate Change, Water and Sanitation, Human Environment Protection and Vector Control in the African Region.
Dr Magda Robalo received her medical degree from the University of Porto (Portugal), obtained a post-graduate diploma in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal) and a Masters of Sciences in Epidemiology from Université Laval (Canada).
Head of Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson
Martin Fitchet, M.D., is Head of Global Public Health (GPH) at Johnson & Johnson where he leads an organization fully dedicated to addressing some of the highest unmet needs and healthcare challenges facing the world’s most vulnerable and underserved people. Martin brings more than 20 years of experience as a proven research and development (R&D) leader with a focus on accelerating development and access to transformational innovation for those in low and middle income countries through an end-to-end approach. Under his leadership, the GPH team combines R&D, global access strategies and programs, and local operations to advance the critical solutions that save lives, cure patients and prevent disease for those impacted by tuberculosis, HIV, mental illness and other public health challenges.
Martin has held numerous leadership positions across Johnson & Johnson leveraging leadership and vision in R&D across therapeutic areas. Prior to joining GPH, Martin was R&D and Global Therapeutic Area (TA) Head, Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), for Actelion, a Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, and previously Global R&D leader for Actelion from Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices. Prior to that, Martin served as Global Head of R&D for the DePuy Synthes Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, he held scientific leadership positions in Medical Affairs and Research & Development in metabolism and diabetes for Sanofi Aventis and Novartis. Having earned his degree at the University of Nottingham Medical School in Nottingham, UK, Martin became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1995, and later joined the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine in London, UK.
Global Head of Access to Medicines, Takeda Pharmaceutical International
Susanne took on the role as Global Head of Access to Medicines early in 2018 and is leading Takeda’s strategy to enhance access to innovative medicines for patients in underserved communities for complex and rare diseases, while strengthening health systems by catalysing partnerships to drive long-term impact. Prior to this role, Susanne was Head of Patient Access and Services for Takeda’s Europe and Canada business and successfully developed and implemented patient engagement programs. As a physician, Susanne has broad knowledge and experience gained over 15 years in the areas of public health and access. This includes roles at the World Economic Forum where Susanne led the business health and healthcare community as well as in consulting on access in emerging markets.
Momentum for UHC in Africa is at an all-time high and most African countries have already integrated UHC into their national health strategies.2
Leadership | Accountability | Technology | Health Security
The 2021 conference will build off of momentum from 2019, serving as a platform for cross-pollination of ideas and home-grown solutions around attaining UHC in Africa.