2014 End of Year Report to AfHEA’s Membership

Dear Colleagues,

We would like, on behalf of the Board and Executive Committee of the African Health Economics and Policy Association (AfHEA), to extend a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2015 to all of you.

It is now five years since AfHEA’s inauguration and we are happy to say that the organization has made tremendous progress and continues to record significant achievements, all thanks to its supportive members and partners.

In the year 2014, AfHEA made the following strides:

3rd Biennial Scientific Conference:

AfHEA successfully held its 3rd biennial scientific conference in March 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference saw a 15 percent increase in the number of participants from the 2011 conference.

AfHEA Website:

Officially launched the redeveloped and redesigned AfHEA website during the Scientific conference in March 2014.

Total visits of the website were 5,602 with 15,488 page views. Maximum actions per visit were 175. There were also 785 outlinks largely due to the fact that the research dissemination articles contain links to external sites. By locations, there were 2,962 from Africa, 990 from Europe, 901 from North America, 414 from Asia, 155 from South America, 50 from Oceania, 20 from Central America and 110 from unknown or undisclosed.

AFYA Newsletter:

Produced the second issue of the AfHEA newsletter AFYA –a conference special edition

Networking and collaboration:

Networking remains key to the success of AfHEA and we are happy to say that in 2014, we established good relations and formal links with NICE International, UK. Not only is NICE now a member of AfHEA’s advisory council but AfHEA is also a member of the NICE advisory group. The partnership with NICE will be crucial in our future work on economic evaluation. 

In addition, AfHEA also undertook 3 policy engagements with CESAG, WAHO and UEMOA.

UHC Training Workshops:

We successfully organized four training workshops on universal health coverage under our UHC Capacity Building and Dissemination Project. Two of the workshops were held in Dakar, Senegal for the francophone countries, one was held in Nairobi for Anglophone countries, and the fourth was held for WAHO member states in Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire. It is particularly noteworthy that there has been such a high demand for these training workshops that we are planning to continue  offering similar workshops in the future, with priority in particular to specific requests from individual countries and organizations/institutions. Perhaps the most significant achievements related to the UHC training workshops is that they are now self- financing from participant fees, which is precisely what we aimed for in order for them to be sustainable.

UHC Research Dissemination:

AfHEA also entered into partnership with the School of Public Health of the University of Ghana to provide up-to-date research works and literature on health economics, financing, and policy related to UHC, and in th English and French. This literature is now easily accessible on our website for our members and visitors.

Overall, we should celebrate the remarkable fact that the UHC project funded principally by IDRC and Rockefeller, with additional contributions for sub- activities from regional bodies like WHO-AFRO, has now basically attained ALL the targets that were set in our grant agreements, ahead of the project closure in June this year. They include the number of persons to be trained, the web site development, and research dissemination. We are however now proceeding to make a brief impact assessment of the various activities to inform future activities and planning.

Participation in the Post-2015 agenda discussions:

AfHEA contributed to the discussions on post-2015 African health agenda and particularly on universal health coverage. This was achieved through dissemination of AfHEA’s Position Statement on UHC and Post-2015 African Health Agenda, which was developed by AfHEA’s Technical Working Group immediately after the 2014 conference. A policy brief from the Position Statement was distributed during the high-level negotiations held in New York.

In addition to distribution and dissemination of the Position Statement, AfHEA continued participating in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network which has served as forum for various civil society organizations to contribute to the post 2015 agenda.

Capacity building:

AfHEA continued to build the capacity of young researchers. In 2014, a collaboration between AfHEA and WHO-AFRO has seen the best 15 abstracts on UHC presented at the 2014 conference selected for further development (with mentoring by senior experts offered) and publishing in the African Health Monitor.

Participation in regional meetings and workshops:

As is the norm, AfHEA participated in various regional meetings and workshops, including:

  • The African Development Forum held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 12th-16th October 2014
  • The ECSA-HC 8th Best Practices Forum held in Arusha, Tanzania, from 1st-3rd December 2014
  • The 20th anniversary of the Union  Economique Et Monetaire Ouest Africaine (UEMOA) with the theme ‘deuxième réunion annuelle du Groupe de travail  Régional pour l’appui aux stratégies  nationales d’extension de la couverture du risque malade (GTR-CRM)’ in  Ouagadougou.  The meeting took place from July 10 – 12, 2014.

Preparation for the upcoming 4th Biennial Scientific Conference:

We also undertook preparatory activities for the 4th Biennial Scientific Conference, which is scheduled for July 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in collaboration with the Centre for Health Policy of the University of Witwatersrand. With support from AfHEA members and staff from the Centre for Health Policy of the University of Wits, we were able to agree on:

  • The venue and a working theme for the conference
  • The period of the conference in relation to the University calendar (but exact dates will be communicated soon)
  • A draft budget for the conference

The exact conference dates and theme will be announced after board approval.

New Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

We are also pleased to announce that AfHEA has received a new grant of $700,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its analytical work and to further build the capacity of its members in health financing and policy research and outreach. The new project will run for 2.5 years.    More details of the project and modalities will be published on our web site as soon as possible.

SAD NEWS: Demise of our very young colleague, Meschac Gwladys ATTINWASSONOU (from Benin but living in Senegal)

The year 2014 was also a very sad year for the AfHEA family following the sudden demise of our colleague Meschac Gwladys ATTINWASSONOU, who was one of AfHEA’s brightest stars and up and coming leaders, at the very young age of 25. Meschac was a product of the CESAG health economics masters course, a very brilliant student with a special knack for modelling, and was especially instrumental in supporting the Francophone training workshops. He passed away while undergoing an advanced ILO modelling program in Mauritius towards the end of last year. His dedication, humility, kindness, diligence and excellent service to AfHEA will be greatly missed. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Upcoming activities

In the year 2015, AfHEA will:

-Conclude the UHC Capacity Building and Dissemination Project: we have achieved all the project’s objectives. However, we will seek to measure impact and continue to be involved in UHC training workshops upon the request of countries and institutions   

-Finalize the development and publishing of the 15 papers under the partnership with WHO-AFRO

-Continue in earnest the planning of the 4th Biennial Conference: specifically:

  • Various committees (overall, organizing, scientific, fundraising and media & communications committees) will be formed to oversee the different aspects of the conference including
  • A fund-raising drive will be organized to raise funds to meet the conference budget deficit
  • We will finalize the logistics of the conference including dealing with visa issues
  • A call for abstracts will be announced and selection of the abstracts will be done before the end of the year

-Begin the implementation of the new project funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from January 2015

In concluding, we would like to thank the members of the Board and Executive Committee for their tireless efforts and dedication to AfHEA, as well as the entire AfHEA membership. We would also like to express appreciation and thank our partners for their support; we would like to particularly mention the IDRC, the Rockefeller Foundation, WHO-AFRO, WAHO, UEMOA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The year 2015 holds new frontiers for AfHEA and working together, we will continue to make AfHEA the “go to place” for health economics, financing and policy analysis and technical advice in Africa.

We look forward to working with you all in the New Year.

Once again, compliments of the season and wishing you all a fruitful year 2015.
Chris Atim (Executive Director), Grace Njeri (incoming Secretary), and Ogoamaka Chukwuogo (outgoing Secretary), with additional support from Rejoice Dake (UHC project finance and admin officer)

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