The launch and implementation of the COMESA Health Framework and Regional HIV/AIDS policy have been affected by the lack of sufficient funds. This has been revealed by Senior Gender Mainstreaming Officer at COMESA Secretariat MsMekia Mohammed Redi.
The seemingly limited availability of funds has also affected the establishment of the Health Desk at COMESA Secretariat which would be instrumental in promoting regional level interventions in the health sector.
MsRedi said this during the 2nd African Union Commission Partnership Forum on HIV, TB and Malaria in Johannesburg South Africa.
“However, the meeting appreciated the health policy directions of COMESA and its comparative advantage to address health issues in the context of regional economic integration,” MsRedi added.
Once operational, the COMESA Health Framework aims to ensure that the COMESA region is free from the threat of preventable communicable and non-communicable diseases and death in tandem with the African Union Catalytic Framework to End HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria by 2030. The Health framework is also in line with the UNAIDS Ending the AIDS Epidemic 90-90-90 Strategy and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 3 which is about ensuring Health Lives and Promotion of Well-Being for all at all ages.
Specifically, the COMESA Framework is meant to strengthen national and regional health systems and infrastructure; and ensure that national and regional health policies are developed from a Human Rights Approach to ensure access to health services by all, reduce the disease burden in the region and death from preventable diseases and establish mechanisms for health information-sharing.
The initiative will help establish capacity for health Research and Development (R&D) and production of medicines and supplies; and build capacity for coordination, monitoring and evaluation of national and regional health policies and programmes.
The COMESA Health Framework was approved by the Council of Ministers at their 36th Meeting held in Antananarivo, Madagascar in October 2016.
This recent AUC Forum was expected to create a strong partnership that contributes to end AIDS, TB and Malaria (ATM) in Africa among several other issues.
The Health Partnership Forum meets annually to review progress and coordination on HIV, TB and Malaria. Specifically, they look at challenges faced in implementing previous recommendations and agree on priority actions of commitments agreed since the inaugural meeting in 2016.