Friday, 25 April 2014

World Malaria Day: “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria”.

Addis Ababa, 25th April 2014- The African Union (AU) joins the international community in celebrating the World Malaria Day under the theme "Invest in the future. Defeat malaria". The theme continues to reflect the renewed call for the urgent need for more resources continentally and globally to eliminate malaria.
Substantial progress has been made in Africa but efforts need to be sustained
The commemorations come at a time when progress in responding to malaria in Africa includes a 49% decline in malaria mortality rates and a reduction of Malaria mortality rates among children in by 54% since 2000. However Africa continues to account for 85% of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths worldwide.Malaria still kills an estimated 627 000 people every year, most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every minute from malaria.
Increased political commitment and expanded funding have helped to reduce malaria incidence by 31% in Africa. The intensification of efforts already undertaken to prevent malaria, including universal coverage of bed nets, is estimated to save the lives of up to three million African children by 2015; hence the importance of continuing efforts and mobilising more resources for the fight against malaria.
“As we project into the future of malaria elimination, we must drive the big push to end malaria through innovative domestic financing models to improve access to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria as well as research” said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs. “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.” He added.
Why do we need a big push in our fight against malaria?
The big push is needed for three reasons (1) recent economic crises have left an estimated annual funding gap of US $3 billion, with an immediate gap of US $3.6 billion through 2015 in Africa alone that threatens to unravel the gains made against this preventable and treatable disease (2) malaria causes out-of-pocket expenditure for households and loss of productivity to the economy resulting in massive losses to economic growth, with an estimated cost of US$ 12 billion each year in lost productivity in Africa alone and (3) new data suggests that for every US $1 invested in malaria in Africa, an estimated US $40 GDP is generated in return.
As much of the continent expands at unprecedented rates, enormous leadership and political will continue to play an increasingly critical role through both international and domestic financing as the continent works to overcome pressing global health challenges, like malaria, and into a more prosperous and sustainable future. The African Union, in its support and advocacy agenda against Malaria has dedicated various initiatives and programs including: the AIDS Watch Africa and the Africa Malaria Elimination Campaign among others. It has also joined its efforts with the partners and other stakeholders during the 5th inter- Agency Meeting on Coordination and Harmonization of HIV/AIDs, TB and Malaria Strategies aimed at boosting the response to the fight against these diseases.
The African Union Commission Strategic Plan for 2014-2017, 2013 Abuja Declaration, the AU Roadmap and the African Union Common Position on the Post 2015 Development Agenda all provide a solid framework to ensure ownership including increase domestic financing while still providing a framework for the continued importance of development cooperation.

COMEDAF VI:  Experts Discuss Education Development in Africa, at Sixth Ordinary Session of Conference of Ministers held in Yaoundé

Description: Description: COMEDAF VI senior officials meeting group photo.jpg

Yaoundé,  April 2014 – African Experts in education kicked off on 22 April 2014, a two-day brainstorming meeting at the Palais de Congres in Yaounde, Republic of Cameroon, ahead of the Sixth Ordinary Session of the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union (COMEDAF VI) scheduled to take place on 25 April 2014. The meeting of Senior Officials was preceded on 21 April 2014 by the African Union Education Partners Meeting that grouped over 40 partner institutions co-chaired by Dr. Abdul-Hakim Elwear, Director for Human Resources Science and Technology and of Dr. Klaus-Ludwig Keferstein, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Yaoundé. The partners discussed how to coordinate their respective support in order to strengthen the education capacities in Africa. 
Addressing the opening ceremony of the Education Senior Officials Meeting, the Minister of Basic Education of the Republic of Cameroon, Mrs. Youssouf Hadidja Alim, thanked the African Union Commission for coordinating the meeting. She. noted that as the end date for the 2nd Decade of Education for Africa and Education for All is approaching, there is need to urgently mobilize collective resources of the Member States to achieve the priorities. The Minister emphasized on the importance of training and skills development for effective employment of the youth, focusing on concrete proposals an recommendations to improve the continental policy in training and education.  Minister Hadidja urged the senior officials to produce relevant and useful recommendations in order to make appropriate contributions to the state of Education in Africa.

Description: Description: education partners meeting 0.jpgSpeaking earlier, Dr. Hakim, expressed appreciations to the host government for their cordial reception and hospitality.  The AU Director for HRST noted that several education development agencies were invited to attend the senior officials meeting, following the successful meeting of the AU Education Partners meeting. He further presented the AU vision on education under the African Agenda 2063. Bridging gaps and creating synergies in education policies in Africa is an essential part of the agenda towards the post 2015 Development Agenda” he noted.

Description: Description: COMEDAF VI senior officials meeting hall.jpgOn the other hand, Dr Brigit Okpa on behalf of Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, Permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the outgoing Chair of COMEDAF V, pointed out the necessity to provide continual support to teacher development to contribute to sustainable growth and development in Africa. She underlined Africa’s need for teachers to train students with the view to become globally competitive. She mentioned the Pan African University (PAU) as an example of success in Higher Education and the acceleration of quality education in Africa..  

Presenting the Africa Agenda 2063, the Director for HRST recalled that the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Summit of Heads of States and Government of the AU in January 2014 considered the Framework of Agenda 2063, and requested the AU Commission to finalize the same for submission in July 2014 Summit, after discussion with stakeholders.  He added that, Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework and a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a common future and destiny.  It requires the engagement of the full energies and creativity of all Africans with the main drivers of this process being identified as good governance, policy and legal environment, human and institutional capacity, responsible and efficient private sector and media.  “It also requires building Pan-African values and work ethics at all levels” , he noted.

The Expert’s meeting featured presentation and discussions of the COMEDAF V held in April 2012 in Abuja, Nigeria; the progress report on the implementation of the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education by Dr. Beatrice Njenga, Head of Education Division of the African Union; and the progress and Implementation of the Pan African University by Professor Ogol, Focal Officer the Pan African University (PAU) at the AU Commission among others.

Representatives from AU Member States participated in the meeting including the following specialized institutions of the African Union:  Centre International des Filles et des Femmes en Afrique (CIEFFA), ACALAN, New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and some civil society organizations notably, the Africa Network Campaign on Education for All (ANCEFA); Education International (EI) and Africa Forum of Teaching Regulatory Authorities (AFTRA).
The following partner agencies attended the meeting: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Association of African Universities (AAU), AVU, AFTRA, the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), African Council for Distance Education (ACDE), Centre for Mathematics and Technology Education in Africa (CEMASTEA), International  Task Force for Teachers on EFA, Education International, EU Delegation to the AU and African Development Bank (ADB).