African heads of State and partners have vowed to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) in Africa, with World Bank and the Global Fund committing to invest $24 billion (about K17.2 trillion) in the continent over the next three to five years.
The announcement was made ahead of the two-day Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad-VI), in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday.
According to a statement issued jointly by the World Bank Group and the Global Fund on Friday, one of the focal points at this year’s Ticad conference, Japan’s flagship programme for African development, is expanding UHC in Africa.
Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, said 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 Kim: “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.”
Executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria Mark Dybul said reducing and preventing HIV, TB and malaria is important to alleviate the burden on health systems.
“But to accelerate universal health coverage and all of the health SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals], we are actively investing to build resilient and sustainable systems for health,” said Dybul.
WHO director-general Margaret Chan said: “WHO is working with countries in Africa to generate funds and help them shape the policies that will put them to best use.”