Kemi Osukoya 

February 8, 2021

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame addresses the 34th African Union Summit

We have come a long way on our institutional reform process, however to reach our satisfactory ultimate goal, we must act swiftly on strengthening and investing in domestic health systems across the African continent to improve health outcomes for our people, said President of Rwanda Paul Kagame in a remarks to African Union member states on Saturday.

“Without strong national health systems in every country, our continent will remain vulnerable to pandemics,” said President Kagame. “We need to strengthen our commitment to increase domestic resource mobilization and improve health outcomes.”

The Rwandan President’s remarks comes at an opportune moment in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the difficult issues and reality of  inequitable global distributions and access to affordable vaccines that have corollary handicap the African continent’s economic recovery from the global health pandemic.

To address the languid actions in domestic health financing, the President proposed adopting two new regulations that would expedite governments’ investment in national public health systems.

“First, the presentation of the data in the annual Scorecard should be updated to rank countries according to the World Health Organization Service Coverage Index, rather than exclusively in terms of per capita spending. This adjustment will more accurately benchmark the efficiency of health spending across different contexts, while also tracking progress toward Universal Health Coverage,” said President Kagame. “Second, I recommend that AUDA-NEPAD be assigned the responsibility for working with partners to create regional platforms to support Member States in increasing domestic health financing.”

He also underscored the importance of the Africa Centres of Disease Control and Prevention and urged for the strengthening of health agency to allow its autonomy and effectiveness.

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