2016 End of Year Statement to AfHEA Membership from AfHEA Executive Director

Dr. Chris Atim, speaking at the 4th Biennial Conference in Rabat

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the Board and Executive Committee of the African Health Economics & Policy Association (AfHEA), I extend to you compliments of the season and wish you all a prosperous new year 2017!

The year 2016 was busy for AfHEA as we held our 4th scientific conference and continued with the implementation of the “Research on Health Financing Issues” project. 

Activities undertaken in 2016

In the year 2016, AfHEA was able to undertake the following activities:


Implementation of the “Research on Health Financing Issues in Africa” Project

The implementation of this project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, began in January 2015 and is now near completion. The key project activities undertaken in 2016 include:

  • Analysis of Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) surveys for 4 countries: this work, which was done by a senior and junior consultant, was completed during the year and the final report submitted to the BMGF.
  • Selection and publishing of 4 papers in reputable journals: the aim of this work was to build the capacity of young researchers. A competition was held in 2015 for abstracts and 4 authors were selected, given cash awards, and mentored by senior researchers to develop their abstracts into papers that can be published in reputable journals. The mentorship of the young researchers is still on going and the papers are expected to be published in journals after the project closeout. The winning authors were also supported to attend and present their papers at the 4th AfHEA conference in Morocco.
  • Analysis of fiscal implications for countries graduating from low-income status to lower-middle-income status: this work was also completed during the year and the final report submitted to the BMGF. The report was also disseminated during the 4th
  • Develop an inception report on comparative analysis of National Health Accounts (NHA) data: this work was also completed during the year and the final report submitted to the BMGF.   
  • Outreach to policy makers and other actors: during the year, AfHEA members participated in several meetings and made presentations on some of the project’s deliverables.
  • Holding of the 4th conference: the 4th conference was successfully held in Rabat, Morocco
  • Updating of AfHEA website with Health Financing materials and reports: this work continued throughout the year and is done by an IT firm and with inputs from AfHEA staff.


Holding of the 4th Biennial Scientific Conference in Rabat, Morocco

The 4th AfHEA Biennial Conference took place at the Sofitel Jardin des Roses in Rabat, Morocco, from 26th to 29th September 2016. During the conference:

  • Three pre-conference workshops and one post-conference workshop were organized for participants by our partners such as the World Health Organization, PRICELLESS South Africa, and The International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI). The workshops trained participants on important and timely topics such as “Tracking Health Expenditures”, Health Technology Assessment for Universal Health Coverage”, “Guidance and Tools for the path towards Universal Health Coverage” and “How to approach Universal Health Coverage from a Public Finance perspective.”
  • Additionally, the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI) organized a hub meeting for its members and non-members.
  • In total, the 5 side events had 205 participants. Majority of participants attended more than 2 of the workshops.
  • The conference had a total of nearly 200 participants from 34 countries. More than 90 percent of the participants were from African institutions. Of all the participants, 56% were male and 44% were female. The gender gap in conference participation has continued to decline over the years and this is attributed to AfHEA’s efforts of encouraging more female participation, for instance, by giving women from low-income countries with presentations priority in bursary awards.  
  • Approximately 180 abstracts were presented during the conference parallel and poster sessions.
  • There were also 6 plenary sessions which had high-level speakers drawn from Africa and beyond
  • An agreement was also signed between AfHEA and the Maghreb Regional Network of Health Economics and Health Systems (RESSMA), marking the beginning of a working relationship with the Maghreb region countries.

Participation in national and regional meetings/events

In 2016, AfHEA participated in the following events:

  • The first Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 24-25 February 2016. The aim of the meeting was to spur renewed and strengthened commitments to improving access to lifesaving vaccines across the African continent.
  • The 2016 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grantees meeting was held in Abuja, Nigeria from May 31 to June 1 2016. The aim of the meeting was for grantees to share experiences and ideas from the field.
  • WAHO’s regional workshop to review the implementation of UHC in ECOWAS member states was held in Lome, Togo from November 29 to December 2, 2016. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current state of UHC in ECOWAS countries and validate the WAHO UHC Guide.
  • A Regional Forum on Strengthening Health Systems for the SDGs and UHC dubbed “Making Health Systems Work for Africa”. The forum was held in Windhoek, Namibia from 8-13 December 2016. The purpose of the forum was to provide an annual (or biannual) platform for senior health systems technical leaders and policy makers of ministries of health and key stakeholders to review, discuss and coordinate country and inter-country health systems strengthening efforts towards attaining the health SDGs.

Activities planned for 2017

In the year 2017, AfHEA will:

  • Conclude the “Research for Health Financing Issues” project. The project will officially end in March 2017. The few pending activities are expected to end by March
  • Begin the preparations of the 5th biennial conference. The venue/location of the next conference will be determined by mid 2017 and announced subsequently. Preliminary work towards the conference will then begin.
  • Embark on a new project titled “Peer Learning Platform for GAVI Transitioning Countries” in collaboration with the Results for Development (R4D). The objectives of the 3-year project (running from January 2017 to December 2019) include: 1) creating favorable conditions for improving the quality and timeliness of transition plans and implementation of the plans in order to increase the likelihood of successful transition; 2) building a global knowledge base for effective solutions to transition challenges; and 3) encouraging cross-country, multi-partner dialogue and activity alignment on priority transition topics.  

Gearing up for AfHEA’s 10th anniversary

AfHEA will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2019. It is time to reflect on our past achievements as well as the challenges we have faced so as to build a better and stronger association. As a result, the AfHEA Board, Executives and some members present at the 4th conference met and suggested a number of changes to AfHEA Constitution and Organizational Structure.

Additionally, the principle was accepted to begin the process of renewing the AfHEA leadership through a participative process and to have this process culminate by the 10th anniversary.

I would like to sincerely thank the members of AfHEA Board and Executive Committee for their continued service to the association as well as our members and partners for their commitment and encouraging support. I also acknowledge the tireless support of our secretary, Ms Grace Njeri, not only in producing this report but also in all our past year’s activities.

I look forward to working with you all in the New Year!



Dr. Chris Atim

AfHEA Executive Director

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