Following the decision (Assembly/AU/Dec.649 (XXIX) taken by the AU Heads of State and Government, at the 29th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) in 2017 endorsing the 2 million community health workers initiative on the African continent, an evolution of mapped CHW stock has been noticed in African countries, with an increase of around 76% between 2018 and 2021. Despite these efforts, the shortage of healthcare workers continues to be a concern on the African continent. WHO estimates the continent’s need for 6.1 million healthcare professionals by 2030.
To strengthen Africa’s healthcare system, addressing persistent shortages and maldistribution of healthcare workers is crucial. Recent health emergencies on the continent have demonstrated that CHWs have made substantial contributions to programs and systems throughout the epidemic pandemic, illustrating opportunities to be sustainable value-adds as an integral part of public health teams and emergency personnel. This justifies the need to continue discussing the best approach to strengthening community health programs in Africa.
The World Health Assembly, convening together senior decision-makers on public health issues, was a crucial opportunity to step up the advocacy for investment in CHWs within the community health workforce needed to improve primary health care and epidemic/pandemic preparedness and response in Africa. In this regard, the African Union Commission and Africa CDC, in collaboration with partners, organized a high-level ministerial side event on community health workforce, systems and programs, on the margins of the 76th World Health Assembly, held on May 24th, 2023 in Geneva (Switzerland). The event was co-hosted by their Excellencies Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the African Union Commission and Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General of Africa CDC.
|HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL SIDE EVENT ON COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKFORCE, SYSTEMS AND PROGRAMS IN AFRICA