The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) has underscored the critical need for bolstered accountability in health security finances and the establishment of equitable vaccine access across the African continent.
The coordinator of AHBN, Dr. Aminu Magashi made this impassioned plea on Tuesday in Abuja during the 2023 Africa Regional Advocacy Summit for NGOs and Media, which was convened in the same city.
The summit, operating under the theme “Capacity Building, Peer Learning, and Exchange on Accountability for Domestic Resource Mobilisation for Health Security and Systems in Africa,” welcomed participants from Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Garba stressed that by addressing existing gaps and offering viable solutions in health security on the continent, Africa could contribute significantly to the global discourse on fortifying health systems and ensuring a more resilient and equitable future for the continent.
The coordinator pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare substantial vulnerabilities in health security systems globally and Africa has been particularly exposed.
“Given the continent’s struggle with limited resources, fragile healthcare infrastructure, and inadequate access to crucial vaccines, the pressing imperative is to fortify accountability for health security finances and ensure fair vaccine distribution,” he asserted.
Garba elucidated the significance of augmenting accountability mechanisms within Africa’s health systems, particularly in the domains of financing and vaccine accessibility. By critically examining the ongoing challenges faced by the continent and proffering potential remedies, this endeavour aims to contribute to ongoing global initiatives that address health security gaps and foster sustainable development in Africa.
He emphasised that the summit’s deliberations would encompass a comprehensive review of the current state of health security across Africa, spotlighting existing vulnerabilities and gaps within healthcare systems. This discussion would also delve into the ramifications of scarce financial resources on health infrastructure, human resources and vaccine accessibility.
Furthermore, the event would delve into the importance of strengthening accountability frameworks for health security finances. It will explore the necessity of transparent and efficient financial management systems, encompassing effective budget allocation, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms. The summit will also dissect the role that international partnerships and donor support play in ensuring lasting funding for health security initiatives.
The spotlight will also turn towards vaccine access and distribution in Africa. This aspect will scrutinise the challenges confronted by the continent in securing timely and sufficient vaccine access, addressing concerns such as affordability, supply chain management and vaccine hesitancy.
Co-chair of AHBN, Hon. Mohammed Usman, underscored the urgency of developing vaccine distribution strategies that prioritise vulnerable populations and ensure inclusivity. He advocated for a multi-pronged approach that embraces data-driven decision-making, multi-stakeholder engagement, and capacity building to fortify accountability mechanisms. Furthermore, he emphasised the instrumental role of regional and international collaborations in bolstering African countries’ endeavours to enhance health security.
Various participants, including Mr. David Aliyu from Health Alert Sierra Leone (HASIL), voiced their concerns and recommendations. They highlighted the need for focused government funding in healthcare, adhering to international declarations and empowering community structures for disease control. Representatives from Uganda and Kenya echoed the sentiment of inadequate accountability frameworks leading to the misappropriation of health sector funds. They called for measures to rectify this issue and redirect funds toward sector revitalisation.
The summit serves as a critical platform for fostering collaborative efforts among African nations to elevate health security and promote equitable access to vaccines. By fostering dialogue, collaboration and accountability, AHBN aims to contribute to a stronger, more resilient health infrastructure across the continent.