As we push for a healthy planet, the health for all agenda remains under-resourced and unfunded. And as the world enters the 3rd year of the Covid19 pandemic, African governments face important choices and decisions in terms of health spending, climate crises and economic recovery. In Uganda as in many African countries, we continue to see budget cuts and funding shortfalls. Quality, accessible and affordable healthcare remains a call to action even though the political will of African governments to put health at the forefront of development has been reiterated through actions such as the Abuja Declaration of 2001 aimed at increasing government funding for health, the Addis-Ababa Declaration of 2006 on community health in the African Region, and the 2008 Ouagadougou Declaration on primary health care and health systems in Africa. Unfortunately, the state of health and health financing in Africa is still penurious.
More domestic and external resourcing is needed for basic health services especially sexual and reproductive health and rights services. The priorities for the FY 2022/23 budgeting cycles in African countries must include ambitious levels of health spending in line with the Abuja declaration and Agenda 2030 recommendations. The pandemic is not over and according to WHO, “0ur political, social and commercial decisions are driving the climate and health crisis.” Political and social decisions are reinforced by financing decisions. And financing that protects poor people, adolescents and young people, women and other minoritized populations must remain a priority for a healthy population and planet. The current climate and health crises is a reminder that global and national recovery is not possible without increased and better spending on essential public health and environmental needs. And the spending priorities must be focused on primary health care and essential medicines and supplies where the sexual and reproductive health and rights especially of African women and young people in all their diversities are impacted.
Increased health financing is one of the key areas that offer important opportunities to translate these commitments and political will into results. With sufficient and transparent health financing, African countries can provide quality, accessible and affordable healthcare hence, enabling the realization of the Universal Health Coverage agenda.
African governments should recognize World Health Day with the theme “Our planet, Our health,” by prioritizing financing that addresses the needs and concerns of African women, girls and gender expansive persons in all our diversities. Recognizing also, that we cannot pursue a greener and sustainable environment without investing in the delivery of healthcare in an affordable, accessible, quality, and inclusive manner. We reiterate our call to African governments on a progressive and intentional increase in allocations to their health budgets.