Dates and Venue for 5th AfHEA Scientific Conference

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to inform you that the host country for the 5th AfHEA Scientific Conference, to take place from 11 - 14 March 2019, will be Ghana! Read on for a summary of how this decision was arrived at.

The AfHEA Board and Executives decided to adopt an open and transparent process in selecting the host country for the 2019 conference.  This was done to ensure transparency and fair participation from all AfHEA member countries, and as part of continuous improvement of our processes and procedures.  In the process, AfHEA came up with a total of 14 criteria (see Table 1 below) to assess the likelihood of countries to host the 2019 AfHEA conference.  Initially, following the 2016 conference in Rabat, five countries indicated an interest in or were suggested for bidding to host the next conference.

Thereafter, the Board developed and sent out a detailed questionnaire to representatives in these countries.  In the end, four out of the five initial countries responded to the questionnaire (the fifth asked for a few more months to submit but this was not granted in view of the tight schedule for organising the conference).  The questionnaire assesses, among other things, the capacity of the country to host the event, availability of local support and assistance, ease of obtaining airport visas and the presence of an interesting health financing story to share (see Table 1).  The Board set up a venue selection committee, with mandate to assist with the process of recommending the most probable country to host the 2019 AfHEA conference using the agreed criteria.

This selection committee was led by Board and Scientific Committee Member Prof John Ataguba of UCT. It also had as members the following: Ms Grace Njeri (AfHEA secretary), Dr Ogoamaka Chukwuogo (AfHEA executive committee member), Mr Pascal Ndiaye (AfHEA executive committee member), Dr Aida Zerbo (assistant AfHEA secretary) and Mr Morris Kouame (AfHEA executive committee member).

To ensure a high degree of objectivity, the committee used a uniform approach in collating and scoring the responses received from each country.  At the end of this process, Ghana emerged as the country with the highest score and was recommended to the Board for the next AfHEA conference.

The Board has unanimously accepted the recommendations of the selection committee and thanked the chair and members of the committee for their diligence and fairness in applying the agreed criteria. The choice of Accra also seemed appropriate to the Board, since the next conference will coincide with the 10th Anniversary of AfHEA, thus we will be returning to the venue where the association was originally founded in March 2009 for the anniversary conference.

The Board further mandated the Executive Director and Secretary to inform all the countries concerned about the results (which has been done) and to publish the outcome of the selection process to all and sundry, after obtaining the consent of the proposed host country, and thereafter to start preparations towards the next conference.

Please note that the dates for the next AfHEA conference are 11 – 14 March 2019.

Stay tuned for further details including general conference theme, exact conference venue in Ghana and related fees, as well as the call for abstracts. The various committees responsible for these aspects will be making those announcements.

 

Chris Atim

Executive Director

 

 

Table 1: A list of criteria used to assess countries

 

Criteria

1

Venue meeting place for up to 300 people and 4 break-out rooms plus secretariat room (need costs to assess feasibility)

2

Venue meeting place is easily accessible from the international airport (to avoid huge airport transfer costs)

3

Various accommodation options for different categories of participants, which are close to the conference venue

4

Official notice or contacts with Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visa facilitation for participants including clear procedures for those who have no embassy of the country to get visas in advance (airport visas)

5

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health willing to issue participants the visa invitation letters

6

Availability of competent local event planner

7

Political stability and respect for individual rights and freedoms

8

AfHEA local chapter ready to support

9

Ministry of Health formally ready to co-sponsor

10

Support from other authorities or agencies including research centres in country (provide examples of such institutions)

11

Readiness of authorities to contribute through support for welcome cocktail and gala dinner

12

Country is a noted leader or has a significant health financing initiative or story to share with participants

13

State other advantages of country e.g. tourism attractions that could boost attendance by people capable of paying fees for themselves

14

Are there other notable reasons why this country should be selected to host the next conference?

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