Thursday, 25 April 2013

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AU African Diaspora Health Initiative attending African health ministers meeting to foster support and ensure efforts are realized

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 24 April 2013- The African Union is pleased to announce the AU African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI), a pilot project mobilizing health care professionals in the African Diaspora to assist in the development of health care systems in Africa. The AU - ADHI was approved by African Heads of State in 2009 as a landmark program designed to link specific health expertise within the Diaspora with specific health needs in Africa, thereby assisting in converting the brain drain into brain gain.

In 2012 Dr. Arikana Chihombori, a medical doctor born in Zimbabwe and residing in the USA was appointed Chair of the AU - ADHI by AU Ambassador Amina Ali, AU Ambassador to the USA. Immediately Dr. Chihombori recruited a network of health professionals who have since been invited to Malawi and Sierra Leone where needs assessment visits have been completed and MOU's have been signed with both governments. 

The AU - ADHI is presently funded through the collective efforts of the AU-ADHI members. An AU -ADHI delegation was invited to participate in the ongoing Sixth Conference of AU Ministers of Health where they have been provided an opportunity to further discuss the program and foster support to ensure efforts are realized. The delegation will be in Addis Ababa until Friday April 26th to further promote AU ADHI, update the Ministers on activities and access partners and support for the initiative and its work.



The African Union (AU) and Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM)Urge Increased African Commitment for Fight Against Malaria
Groups Convene African Ministers of Health on World Malaria Day

Joint AU-Roll Back Malaria Press Conference on the margins of the AU Conference of Ministers of H1Addis Ababa25 April 2013-In celebration of World Malaria Day, which is commemorated annually around the world on 25 April, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) and the African Union Commission (AUC) co-hosted a high-level breakfast session with African Ministers of Health to celebrate the continent’s gains against one of its leading killers: malaria. The breakfast discussion, which included remarks by Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of RBM and Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, Regional Director of the World Health Organisation, as well as various Ministers of Health, came just as the African Union’s Sixth Conference of the Ministers of Health Meeting kicked-off in Addis Ababa. Leveraging the convening power of this conference, RBM and the AU called participating Ministers of Health to increase political commitment, action and domestic funding for malaria control efforts.

“This is a watershed year for Africa for Africa, which marks 50 years of the Organisation of African Unity and 10 years since the launch of the African Union. The 50th anniversary is observed under the theme ‘Pan Africanism and African Renaissance’, providing us with opportunities to take stock of the key milestones of the past 50 years and to project to the future,” said Dr. Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.  “As we project into the next 50 years in the fight against malaria, we as Africans must create innovative domestic and national health financing models. We cannot and should not continue to rely on external funding for health. The experience of the last few years has shown that external funding is neither predictable nor assured.”

Joint AU-Roll Back Malaria Press Conference on the margins of the AU Conference of Ministers of HA top priority of the United Nation’s Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the fight against malaria has forged one of the most effective initiatives in global public health, with the RBM Partnership successfully coordinating efforts and directing resources to where the need is greatest. Between 2000 and 2010, greater coordination and significant increases in funding resulted in a 25% decrease in global malaria deaths, including a 33% decrease in Africa alone. During that same time period, at least ten endemic countries in Africa reported declines in new malaria cases and steep falls in child mortality of up to 80%.

“With stronger coordination among partners and increased funding, we have made tremendous progress against malaria since 2000. But the recent global economic downturn has left us with funding gaps that threaten to reverse the gains we’ve made,” said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. “In Africa alone, where the burden is highest, we now face an estimated funding gap of US $3.6 billion through 2015 to achieve universal coverage of the cost-effective, life-saving interventions for all those in need. We must come together to invest our resources more effectively – including international aid and domestic financing for malaria.”

Global financing for malaria has grown sharply in recent years, peaking at US $1.8 billion in 2010 – up from US $200 million in 2004 – and highlighting the cost-effectiveness of malaria interventions. Investments in malaria have proven to save lives and advance progress against other health indicators across the board. New data suggests that for every US $1 invested in malaria in Africa, an estimated US $40 GDP is generated in return. But recent economic crises have left an estimated annual funding gap of US $3 billion, with an immediate gap of US $3.6 billion through 2015 in Africa alone that threatens to unravel the gains made against this preventable and treatable disease.

Despite advances in prevention, diagnostics and treatment, malaria continues to infect approximately 219 million people around the world each year, killing an estimated 655,000. 90% of all cases occur in Africa, where the disease kills a child every minute and costs the continent an estimated minimum of US $12 billion each year in lost productivity alone.

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Media Contacts
Geoffrey So(In Addis Ababa until Friday, 26 April)
RBM External Relations Officer
Tel:  +1 347 932 0820 (US mobile) | +251 (0)91 931 4048 (Ethiopian mobile)