Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on AfHEA Biennial Conferences
When was the first biennial conference held?
AfHEA’s inaugural conference was held in 2009 in Accra, Ghana. Since then we have successfully held 2 more conferences: Saly, Senegal (2011) and Nairobi, Kenya (2014). The 4th conference will be held in Rabat, Morocco in September 2016.
What determines the location of AfHEA’s conferences?
The location of our conferences is largely determined by AfHEA’s network of members. The first 2 conferences were held in West African countries because at the time majority of AfHEA members were based in West Africa. However, AfHEA decided to further expand its network eastwards and southwards and a decision was made to hold the 3rd conference in East Africa.
Morocco was chosen for the next 4th conference in order to build further links with our colleagues in the Maghreb who have been running a similar network, RESSMA, longer than AfHEA. AfHEA hopes by this decision to expand its network in the Maghreb region and bring in experienced colleagues to support our capacity building mandate. We are also committed to holding a conference in the Southern African region as soon as practicable.
Besides the network of members, other determining factors include: willingness and readiness of a country to hold a conference; and availability of the required infrastructure.
Are AfHEA’s conferences held in English only?
No! AfHEA has members in both the Francophone and Anglophone countries. Our conferences are therefore bilingual in nature (English and French). All the conference sessions are simultaneously translated.
What is the structure of AfHEA’s conferences?
Our conferences last over a period of 3 days. The conferences usually consist of 6 plenary sessions (2 each day; 1 in the morning and 1 at the end of the day) and various parallel sessions organized according to the conference themes. In between the parallel sessions are poster presentations and exhibitions. We also hold pre-conference events such as training workshops on the day before the conference starts.
What is the target audience of AfHEA’s conferences?
AfHEA’s conferences are attended by a variety of participants: high-level dignitaries such as Ministers of Health and Finance and the staff of those Ministries and other government institutions and agencies dealing with health sector and financing or policy issues; academics; representatives from development organizations; practitioners in the fields of Health Economics, Healthcare Financing and Health Policy; researchers (both seasoned and up-coming); as well as students.
How many participants, on average, attend AfHEA’s conferences?
On average, we witness the attendance of 250 participants.
Why are AfHEA’s conferences relatively costly?
Unlike other international conferences (such as the Global Symposium), which witness thousands of participants, AfHEA’s conference attendance is relatively low (about 250). This makes the overhead costs for AfHEA’s conferences relatively high, forcing us to charge higher conference costs. Moreover, unlike most of those other conferences, AfHEA bears full translation and interpretation charges for all conference documentation, sessions and web postings. Finally, AfHEA is committed to ensuring the participation of members from low-income countries or facing other difficult challenges but who also have abstract or papers to present, thus further increasing the overhead costs of the conference.
Nevertheless, AfHEA has been making efforts to bring down the costs of conference participation as evidenced by the efforts to reduce the costs of the 4 conferences (except for Nairobi which went up slightly due to the venue costs): Accra ($1,400), Saly ($1,200), Nairobi ($1,250) and Rabat ($1,050). Moreover, the costs for AfHEA’s fully paid members are usually lower than for non-members, for instance, for Nairobi conference, members paid $1,100 and for Rabat members will pay $900.
We therefore encourage participants to sign up to become AfHEA members.
Given the high participation costs, does AfHEA provide scholarships for conference attendance?
Yes! In all our previous conferences, we have offered some form of scholarship to encourage participation. However, our priority is towards female participants and students from low-income countries. This is because AfHEA’s key mandates include building the capacity of young researchers and ensuring equity by supporting those who face additional challenges to full participation in our activities e.g. demonstrable financial ones and gender under-representatio