African Parliamentarians Aim for Increased Health Budgets amid COVID-19

Addis Ababa: The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has urged its members to ensure that African Union (AU) member states allocate adequate funding to cater for healthcare systems when budgets are submitted to Parliaments for consideration.

The call follows a briefing to members of the PAP Committees on Health and Gender by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC), according to a statement released by PAP on Thursday.

In its briefing the African CDC revealed that inadequate health care services impeded Africa’s response to COVID-19 during the early days of the spread of the global health threat.

It has also described Africa’s limited health budget, weak health facilities and shortage of health workers as hindrance to the fight against pandemic in general.

According to the presentation, only 50 percent of member states have access to modern health facilities while 10 percent of GDP is spent on healthcare for most African countries.

Africa CDC Head for Public Health and Research and Co-Chair of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus (AFTCOR) Dr. Raji Tajudeen told African Parliamentarians that the institution has been spearheading a continental coordination of COVID-19 response to fill the gaps of a weak healthcare system.

Chief Fortune Charumbira, 4th Vice President of the PAP said “while this pandemic has prevented us from meeting physically, I am gratified that we are adopting technology to serve our people. As representatives of our citizens, we need to take charge and play a role in the process of finding solutions as we engage with both our peoples and governments.”

Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Simplice Zingas on his part said that experiences from the Covid-19 pandemic should serve as an ignition of a different way of addressing health issues on the Continent.

“Time has come to use our control over national budgets to make health a priority. We call on African Parliamentarians to ensure that budgets presented by governments give a prominent place to health systems in addition to addressing developmental issues,” he added.

In April 2001, African Union member states met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15 percent of their annual budget to improve the health sector. 19 years later, only two African countries have reached this target.

 

 

 

Source: Ethiopia News agency

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