ICASA 2008: Long term financing for a sustainable response in Africa
05 December 2008
Sustainable investment in health is crucial for African countries’ successful development stressed Dr Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
“The world has finally understood that health is a priority for development and not a consequence of development,” said Dr Kazatchkine. “Investments in health have an impact and have saved lots of lives”.
Dr Kazatchkine was speaking at the 15th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) where he highlighted the need for a long-term approach to the reinforcement of health systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
Financial resources for AIDS have increased significantly in the last five years because donors and the international community recognize how health can be a key investment in development. Dr Kazatchkine said that this investment coupled with an unprecedented mobilization of civil society has been showing results.
However sustainability is crucial argued Dr Kazatchkine. More predictable resources for countries generate the necessary environment that would allow countries to design programmes with the confidence that they will be sustainable. “If money is made available to countries, more programmes would be implemented and therefore the investment on AIDS would generate better results,” said Dr Kazatchkine.
Dr Kazatchkine also stressed that addressing the challenges of weak health systems is critical. “Donors have contributed to strengthening health systems all over the world but more resources are required to address the health systems challenges such as infrastructures, facilities or health workers,” said Kazatchkine.
Finally, he added that there is a need for more than resources. The promotion of evidence-based responses that reach out to those most in need, human rights, strengthened social protection and strengthened global and local partnerships are responsibilities shared by countries and the international community.
UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot and HRH Princess Matilde of Belgium co-chaired the plenary which was held on Friday.