The biennial conference will convene African stakeholders in health, climate, and development to foster regional collaboration and create a unified position on climate action and health system resilience ahead of UNGA 78 and COP 28.
When stakeholders in health, development, and climate convene in Kigali, Rwanda, for the fifth edition of The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) 2023, top on the agenda will be the urgent need for African countries to unite in their efforts to strengthen health systems and address climate-related health challenges.
The biennial conference, which will take place from 5th – 8th March under the theme “Resilient Health Systems for Africa: Re-envisioning the Future Now”, will bring together representatives from African States to advocate for a unified continental voice ahead of their participation at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 78), and the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) taking place in September and November respectively this year.
“If we are to address the emerging threats at the intersection of health and climate change, African countries must present a united front at global health and climate forums. We need to have one message for one Africa when we present our asks and demands at UNGA 78 and COP 28 because it is only then that we can influence the global policy changes required to meet the needs of the African people,” said Dr Sabin Nsanzimana, Minister of Health, Rwanda.
AHAIC will provide a platform to deepen African unity at a time when the ripple effects of the three- year COVID-19 pandemic and a global recession have caused an increase in nationalism in the global north, denying Africa much-needed access to funding for health and climate adaptation and mitigation. The event will also address the fragmented efforts that have long stood in the way of holistic progress on the continent.
“We know that multilateral systems have not always delivered equitably for us, and the COVID-19 pandemic served as a poignant reminder of Africa’s ranking within the hierarchy of global health. While we acknowledge that African countries must also take responsibility for their role in underinvesting in their health systems, we must also recognise that African-led solutions to African challenges still require some level of global support because there can be no global health security if Africa continues to be left out,” said Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma, Acting Director, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
Over the four days, policymakers, technocrats, thought leaders, innovators, researchers, and civil society will explore how African countries can foster regional cooperation by creating common guidelines, governance structures and regulatory procedures to harmonise health systems and climate adaptation and mitigation measures across the continent.
“For us to create lasting health change in Africa, we must build more equal partnerships and unite to drive a common African agenda on climate and health. In doing so, we can address the emerging twin threats of climate crises and future pandemics in a more sustainable manner, including by strengthening primary health care and addressing the social determinants of health that are impacting the wellbeing of populations across the continent,” said Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa. “These social determinants include education, economic opportunity, conflict, and gender equity – all of which are central to Amref Health Africa’s mission to catalyse and drive people-centred health systems as outlined in our 2023-2030 corporate strategy, which we will unveil at AHAIC 2023.”
Jointly convened by Amref Health Africa, Ministry of Health Rwanda, African Union and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), AHAIC 2023 is the first global health conference held in Africa to focus on mainstreaming climate into health policymaking and vice versa. The conference will act as a springboard to global health and climate conferences where it will present an African-led global petition for urgent climate action and sustainable global health policies that will support Africa’s journey towards resilient health systems.
The conference will kick off with a wogging event on 5th March during the Kigali Car Free Day, as part of efforts to promote climate action for health. This will be followed by three days of plenaries, high-level meetings, workshops, and networking sessions that will take place from the 6th to the 8th of March.
The Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) is a flagship convening of Amref Health Africa and is the largest health and development conference held in Africa every two years. Now in its fifth round, AHAIC 2023 will bring together the African community, world leaders, financiers, innovators, technologists, scientists, and experts across domains to discuss health policies for Africa in response to the most pressing challenges of our times – conflict, climate change, food insecurity and human rights violations.
AHAIC 2023 puts people at the centre of all discussions and recognises the unique needs of the global south. We encourage minority populations, African nations and other low- and middle-income countries to get involved in reshaping Africa’s health and development trajectory. Run by and for the people of Africa in Africa, AHAIC 2023 is designed to tackle complex issues in a practical manner and promises to be more challenging, innovative, and fun than other global health events.