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Africa: Eyes on the G8
May 23, 2007 (070523)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
The G8 (Group of 8) summit of the world's richest nations is
scheduled to meet June 6-8 on the Baltic coast of Germany, and
activists are demanding action not rhetoric on commitments to
Africa. ActionAid, for example, is calling for at least 8,000
people, the number dying of AIDS every day, to upload images of
their eyes to signal the leaders that the world is watching. Visit
http://eyes.actionaid.org.uk/ to add your eyes and your message.
Africa, along with global warming and global economic cooperation.
Although prospects for action that goes beyond rhetoric seem slim,
a host of organizations are calling for the group to live up to
their promises, with petitions and with demonstrations planned for
Without dramatically stepped-up commitments and implementation of
promises, there is no chance that G8 commitments such as providing
universal access to AIDS treatment by 2010 will be met. While the
number on treatment has increased significantly, to some 25% of
those in need of treatment, at the present rate in 2010 more than
half of those needing treatment will still not be receiving it. And
some 77 million children will still lack access to the basic human
right of education.
In addition to the "The World is Watching" campaign
(http://eyes.actionaid.org.uk), this AfricaFocus Bulletin contains
two petitions to the G8 still open for signatures, by individuals
and by organizations, respectively, and one, from African civil
society health organizations, focusing in particular on the need
for support for African health plans, including the prevision of
adequate finance for health workers. Other themes in the petitions
include living up to commitments on funding for HIV/AIDS, for
education, and for development assistance more generally.
For additional background information on the G8 meeting, see
http://www.bmz.de/en/EU_G8 and http://www.g7.utoronto.ca
Another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today contains an article on
the crucial issues of financing healthcare workers in African
countries, published last month in the Public Library of Science
For earlier AfricaFocus Bulletins on health-related issues, visit
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++++++++
Tell G8 nations to keep their promises on AIDS, Health Care Workers
On June 6 the leaders of the wealthiest nations will meet in
Germany at the G8 Summit. This is not just any meeting. It's a
meeting where life and death decisions will be made, affecting the
lives of millions of people.
You can help. Join Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and tell G8
nations to keep their promises!
In 2005, the G8 Leaders made important commitments on poverty, aid
to poor countries, HIV/AIDS, health systems, and education. These
should be considered solemn promises! Breaking them is morally
Yet, the G8 is not on track to keep these promises:
- Aid levels have actually declined;
- Less than half of all people in urgent need of AIDS treatment by
2010 will be receiving it;
- 77 million children have no access to school; and
- Africa alone faces a shortage of nearly 1.5 million health
Join us in petitioning the G8 leaders! This petition calls for the
G8 nations to:
- agree on a financing plan to reach the promise of universal
access to all AIDS services by 2010,
- fully support a coordinated plan to strengthen health systems,
- and provide full funding for education so every child can have
the chance to go to school.
We need thousands of signatures by June 5! Tell the G8 leaders they
must get AIDS and education funding back on track!
Thank you for making a difference!!
A Call to the 2007 G8 Summit to Support African National Health
Plans and Comprehensive Health Workforce Strategies
[distributed by Dr. Lola Dare, Executive Secretary, ACOSHED
(African Council for Sustainable Health Development)
firstname.lastname@example.org and Eric Friedman, Physicians for Human Rights
(email@example.com). Signatories were limited to African
We are African organizations deeply committed to improving the
health of the people of our continent. Yet we are deeply concerned
about the lack of progress, and in some countries reversal of
progress, resulting in millions of preventable deaths that continue
to burden our countries each year. It is clear that as long as our
health systems remain weak in many dimensions and our countries
face a health workforce crisis, the current unacceptable trends
In spite of this slow progress, we remain optimistic. We have
observed progress in some regions and countries, and identify with
the deepening commitment to the health of many of our Government
and institutions. Our Regional Economic Communities have assumed an
important leadership role within the continent in catalyzing
actions required to strengthen health systems and achieve health
MDGs. We are convinced that the engagement of our partners locally
and globally can translate into the political will, resources, and
efficiency required to transform health on our continent. With so
many lives at stake, our neighbors, our children, and ourselves, we
Cognizant of the continuing intolerable burden of disease, African
Union ministers of health have developed an Africa Health Strategy
2007-2015 that seeks to "provides a strategic direction to Africa's
efforts in creating better health for all." At the core of the
Africa Health Strategy is the strengthening of health systems based
on carefully costed National Health Plans that incorporate the
commitments made by African governments, including achieving the
Millennium Development Goals and universal access to HIV/AIDS
treatment, care, prevention, and support by 2010.
The chief responsibility for the success of these plans lies
without our own governments. We will hold our governments
accountable. We will insist - and are demanding - that they take
the necessary steps to achieve the promises of good health, a
foundation of healthy societies. Collectively, we will hold our
governments accountable to increasing health sector investments to
at least 15% of the national budget, improving the efficiency in
allocation and application of these resources, and the
implementation of health workforce and systems strengthening
strategies capable of providing quality health care to all people.
We further commit to work with our governments to identify
sustainable financing strategies that can replace point-of-service
payments (i.e., user fees) for essential health services and to
meet their other commitments and responsibilities including as part
of the human right to health.
However, the successful implementation of the National Health Plans
requires support from Africa's development partners, especially
from the nations that comprise the G8. Even if African governments
significantly increase their own funding for National Health Plans,
these plans will have significant financing gaps. Many of the
actions required for these plans to succeed will require solutions
and expertise that crosses national and even continental
We call upon the upcoming G8 summit in Germany to recognize the
Africa Health Strategy developed by our health ministers and
initiate substantive dialogue with the African Union, regional
economic communities, national governments, and civil society
organizations about the partnerships and support that will enable
to our countries to effectively implement this strategy.
We further call upon the G8 countries to fulfill existing pledges,
including the commitment of 0.7% of their own GNI to ODA, the
doubling of aid to Africa by 2010, and to adhere to the commitments
of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, including those that
relate to alignment and harmonization of aid investments with
country plans and leadership.
This dialogue should be backed by firm commitments about steps that
we know will be required of wealthy countries if African National
Health Plans are to succeed. We ask that this G8 summit make these
1. Provide long-term, predictable funding to cover financing gaps
identified in National Health Plans and plans for universal access
to HIV/AIDS treatment, care, prevention, and support, and harmonize
health assistance with country-driven National Health Plans.
2. Work with International Financial Institutions and developing
country governments and civil society to ensure that fiscal and
monetary policies are aligned with the best estimates of the fiscal
space required to achieve the MDGs and other human development
goals and commitments.
3. Accelerate debt cancellation and ensure that debt cancellation
supplements rather than displaces aid.
4. Provide the needed financial and technical support to developing
countries to design and implement sustainable financing schemes
that can support the elimination of point-of-service payments (user
fees) for essential health services and that are designed to enable
all people, including the poor, access to quality health services.
Health Systems and workforce
5. Work with the AU and other continental partners to identify a
basic package of health systems interventions, implemented at the
district level, that can provide the backbone for the delivery of
health service packages required to achieve the goals of universal
access to health and the MDGs.
6. Support the development and implementation of inter-sectoral and
comprehensive health workforce strategies that are integrated with
a broader health sector response and public service reforms to
address numbers of health workers as well as other variables such
as internal distribution, skills mix, work environments,
productivity, and management capacity.
7. Engage developing countries to formulate a comprehensive
strategy to address health worker migration that emphasizes
co-development, including by adopting policies to develop
self-sustainable workforces within OECD countries and to follow
ethical recruitment practices.
8. Increase support to developing countries to fully utilize TRIPS
flexibilities to improve access to medicine, including by helping
build capacity to utilize these flexibilities and by avoiding any
restrictions to such flexibilities - or any other provisions that
may be detrimental to health - in trade agreements.
9. Support initiatives and programs that promote peer and
independent mechanisms to track the progress of our governments and
their partners to the commitments and declarations made at global,
continental, and regional fora.
10. Through diplomatic levers, technical assistance, and other
strategies, support African civil society efforts to hold our own
governments accountable to their commitments and responsibilities.
Civil Society Letter to G8 Heads of State
Please see a letter below to the G8 heads of state regarding
universal access. This letter will be officially "sent" on June
2nd, the Night of Solidarity, when German campaigners, supported
by other countries, are planning a final mobilisation event
before the G8 summit. It is also available for use over the
Global Week of Action, May 20 - May 26. To sign on, please email:
Or visit http://www.g8aidscampaign.org
To sign on, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out what civil society organisations are demanding the G8 to
do. Text of letter follows.
2 June 2007
Dear G8 Heads of State,
Re: Civil society demands you keep the promise on universal
We are writing as campaigners, activists, people living with and
affected by HIV & AIDS, and civil society organisations working
to fight the AIDS pandemic.
We welcome Germany's commitment to ensure that Africa and the
AIDS pandemic are high on the G8 and EU agenda, in line with the
Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). We are particularly
heartened by Chancellor Merkel's focus on addressing the
feminisation of the pandemic.
As Germany presides over both the G8 and the EU this year, we
believe it is a historic opportunity for you to deliver on the
2005 Gleneagles commitment to universal access by 2010. It is two
years since the G8 set this ambitious target and we are concerned
that the additional funds needed to achieve this goal have not
been identified, let alone made available to scale up the world's
response against AIDS.
We are gravely concerned that the international community has
lost the momentum of the 3 by 5 campaign to rapidly scale up
treatment. We welcomed the universal access commitment
spearheaded by the G8 in 2005. However with only three years to
2010, the G8 is on the brink of squandering its legacy of having
played a leadership role in promoting this bold promise. For
example, at the current rate of scale-up, less than half of all
people in urgent need of treatment by 2010 will be receiving it.
Five million lives stand to be lost . Clearly we need to fight
together to ensure that "as close as possible" to universal
access is not misinterpreted in this way.
In this letter we outline our main reasons for concern and make
specific demands to be met before the end of 2007.
1. UNAIDS estimates that the global AIDS response needs $20-23
billion per annum, but on current commitments we are $8 billion
short in 2007 and $10 billion short annually from 2008-2010. G8
leaders should deliver a funding plan for universal access by
2. This should include specific resource commitments based on
fair share contributions and ensure additional, predictable and
sustainable AIDS funding to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and
Malaria and other donor mechanisms. Further, the G8 should use
their influence with African heads of state to encourage them to
live up to their own target of 15% national budget allocation to
health as laid out in the 2001 Abuja Declaration.
3. Only a few countries have submitted costed national plans for
achieving universal access. This was the first step of the
universal access process, and already leaders are faltering. In
many of the countries we write from there are either no plans for
universal access - where they exist they often lack quality,
transparency, and engagement of civil society. We request that G8
leaders help in getting costed national plans drafted more
quickly, with better quality, and greater engagement of civil
4. As leaders in the international response to AIDS, the G8 needs
to put clear global targets to the universal access goals. Civil
society across the world also urgently requires these targets for
measuring your success and ours. Please state your global targets
for providing universal access to treatment, care, prevention and
support. These should include a pledge to provide treatment to
9.8 million people by 2010.
5. Implementation and delivery are not keeping up with need, and
so we ask the G8 to put in place a permanent mechanism to monitor
and review progress on AIDS commitments. This is particularly
necessary in relation to international efforts for universal
access to AIDS treatment, care and prevention.
6. As heads of state of the most powerful economic nations, we
want you to encourage the use of flexibilities in the WTO TRIPS
agreement in a manner supportive of public health and to refrain
from including provisions that go beyond TRIPS in bilateral and
regional trade agreements. We request that additional funding is
committed to the WHO in order for them to take the necessary lead
in developing a robust plan on access to essential second-line
antiretroviral drugs in collaboration with its partners.
The lives of millions depend on our joint efforts to make
universal access a reality. Your commitment and leadership can
help ensure that we keep the promise on universal access by 2010.
AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication
providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues,
with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies.
AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.
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