Photo: Aude Rossignol / UNDP DRC

Johannesburg, South Africa – An action plan has been agreed upon at the 2nd Africa Partnership and Coordination Forum to fast track efforts to eradicate the ‘big three’ diseases of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in Africa by the year 2030.

More than 50 participants attended the Forum this week in Johannesburg, with representatives in attendance from the African Union Organs, Regional Economic Communities, Regional Health Organisations, development partners, civil society and the private sector. The Forum was jointly convened by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Service Centre for Africa.

The Africa Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria was established in November 2016 to coordinate the efforts of regional and continental actors in supporting countries to implement the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030, which was endorsed by the Heads of State & Government during the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali (July 2016). The Catalytic Framework, as the name suggests, aims to intensify efforts to address the ‘big three’ public health threats by building continent-wide consensus on key policy issues, strategic priorities, targets and accountability mechanisms.

“We have the science and tools to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030,” said Dr. Richard Kamwi, former Minister of Health of Namibia, Goodwill Ambassador of Elimination 8 and Champion of the Africa CDC. “The continental targets set for the three diseases can be achieved with sustained leadership, ownership, sustained financing, effective partnerships and accountability.”

The Forum discussed and reviewed progress and challenges in implementing the recommendations and agreed priority actions since the inaugural meeting in 2016.

“Africa’s agenda for inclusive growth, socio-economic and structural transformation is predicated on harnessing the demographic dividend from its youthful population,” said Dr. Benjamin Djoudalbaye, AUC. “To ensure that Africa is firmly on this path, the health agenda remains fundamental and requires multi-level partnerships and streamlined coordination.”

“Despite significant progress, Africa continues to confront some of the world’s most serious public health threats,” said Dr. Amitrajit Saha, Senior Advisor on HIV and Human Rights, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa. “The situation necessitates a coordinated, multi-sectoral response to strengthen health systems and reduce the inequalities and social exclusion that drive poor health.”

The Forum received updates from civil society organizations, the Regional Economic Communities, African Union Commission and its organs, and private sector and development partners on the activities being undertaken to support implementation of the Catalytic Framework. Participants of the Forum also critically reviewed the Draft Common Position on Ending TB as a Public Health Threat for Africa by 2030, providing inputs to enrich the document prior to approval and adoption by the African Heads of State at the upcoming AIDS Watch Africa meeting in mid-2018.

The action plan developed by the Forum included key advocacy and resource mobilisation priorities, opportunities for joint action, advocacy for continued political commitment and coordination of efforts of various stakeholders at the regional and continental levels. These high-level actions align with the Catalytic Framework’s business model for investing for impact through focused investment in three strategic investment areas – health systems strengthening, generation and use of evidence for policy and programme interventions and advocacy and capacity building. The meeting also adopted an accountability mechanism to track progress annually on agreed joint priorities.

The third edition of the Forum was agreed to be held in November 2018.

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