Africa Union must act!

With a worsening Ebola crisis in the Congo, a shortage of domestic funds for public health and a need for increased programs for vulnerable populations—AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) joined partners at the 22nd Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD) general assembly in Ethiopia to address these and other pressing health initiatives. 

AHF and partners kicked off actions by organizing a press conference on February 8 in Addis Ababa to call for increased urgency on Ebola from the African Union (AU) and Center for Disease Control (CDC). The current outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has seen nearly 900 Ebola cases, which have claimed over 550 lives since last August.

“There is an urgent need for increased security, additional resources and more effective communication from the AU and [Africa] CDC—they must step up their efforts in the fight against Ebola,” said Alice Kayongo, AHF Regional Policy and Advocacy Manager for East and West Africa. “These organizations cannot not sit idle as the second worst outbreak in history rages on in one of our most unstable regions.”
First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta (second from left) meets with civil society. AHF also met one-on-one with First Ladies from Kenya and Zimbabwe and an advisor to the First Lady of Rwanda. They discussed a possible collaboration on reaching marginalized populations and shared key points about AHF’s Girls Act! campaign, which has been successful in keeping girls in school and HIV-free.
Civil society representatives, including AHF, concluded the OAFLAD summit by drafting and endorsing a position paper that calls for countries to contribute 5% of gross domestic product to public health and for 2% of national health budgets to be used towards health research and innovation.