The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI) Summit was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya on 27-28 August 2016. This marked the first time a TICAD Summit was held in Africa since its inception in 1993.
A key objective of TICAD is to mobilize support for Africa’s socio-economic development, peace and security, governance and human rights agendas. The theme of the TICAD-VI conference was: Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda – TICAD Partnership for Prosperity.
One of the main outcomes of the summit was the Nairobi Declaration, where heads of state and government delegations from 54 African countries laid out shared priorities including: (I) promoting structural economic transformation through economic diversification and industrialization, (II) promoting resilient health systems for quality of life, and (III) promoting social stability for shared prosperity. Agreements under pillar II on health systems included a commitment to work toward universal health coverage.
Investment in Africa’s health systems is key to inclusive and sustainable growth. Strong economic growth in recent years has helped reduce poverty to 43% of the population. Yet, as Africa’s population grows—it is estimated to reach 2.5 billion by 2050—the region faces a critical challenge of creating the foundations for long-term inclusive growth.
Weak or under-resourced health systems in many African countries call for renewed commitments and accelerated progress toward universal health coverage – the principle that everyone should have access to quality, essential health services without facing financial hardship. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving UHC, and strategies will depend on local circumstances and national dialogues.
“UHC in Africa: A Framework for Action” – developed by the World Bank; World Health Organization; Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the African Development Bank – proposes a set of actions for countries and stakeholders involved in the UHC process. It is intended to stimulate action by demonstrating that progress toward UHC is not only possible, it is also essential.
For too long, primary health care has been a weak link in health systems around the world. It is underdeveloped, underfunded, and facing a severe workforce recruitment and retention challenge in many countries. Half the world’s population has limited or no access to the most essential health services. Yet, it is estimated that 80-90% of people’s health needs across their lifetimes can be address through primary health care.
The Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan, in October 2018, endorsed a new declaration emphasizing the critical role of primary health care around the world. The declaration aims to refocus efforts on primary health care to ensure that everyone, everywhere, can enjoy the highest attainable standard of health.
UHC means that all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. The World Health Organization and The World Bank’s report on tracking UHC looks at how many people globally lack access to essential health services and how many are pushed into poverty from spending on health care. The report shows that more than half of the world’s population does not receive all of the essential services they need. In terms of financial protection, over 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care, and about 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty due to their health expenditures.