Independent Group For Health In Africa

January 1998

Independent watchdog for health in Africa

Contents

Aims

Objectives

Council Members

Formation of IGHA

What IGHA Intends to Do

The Way Forward

Contact Information

AIMS

  • Monitoring of health problems, policies, strategies and programs (including research) in Africa
  • Advocate for improved health policy (policy, strategy, programs and research) in Africa.
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OBJECTIVES:

  • Audit international organizations involved in the health sector in Africa.
  • Assess regional and national health polices and programs including research.
  • Monitoring the role of the private sector in health.
  • Advocacy for action on audited issues
  • Promote networking among health institutions, agencies and experts in Africa.
  • Advocate for relevant institutional capacity building for local health institutions

PROPOSED STATUS

: Non governmental organization

  • REGISTRATION: The organization is to be registered initially in Zimbabwe and later will be registered in each of the African countries. The secretariat is expected to work out of the offices of the

    Centre for International Health and Policy (CIHP

    ) of the non-governmental

    Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI)

    in Harare, Zimbabwe.
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PROPOSED COUNCIL MEMBERS

CHAIRPERSON:

DR BINTA DIALLO (COHRED Board Member, Guinea)

SECRETARY GENERAL:

DR STEVEN K. CHANDIWANA (Zimbabwe, Blair Research Institute)

OTHER MEMBERS

  • PROF. G. MWALUKO (Tanzania, WHO/HSR Project for Southern Africa)
  • PROF. T. THAIRU (Kenya, Commonwealth Regional Health Secretariat)
  • PROF. RANSOME -KUTI (Nigeria, former Minister of Health and now with World Bank, Better Health for Africa Project)
  • PROF. ADE LUCAS (Nigeria, former director, TDR and Professor of Public Health at Harvard)
  • DR SAMBE DUALE (Cameroon, Professor of Public Health Tulane University)
  • DR T SIBIYA (Swaziland, Lecturer in Nutrition, University of Swaziland)
  • DR FLORENCE MULII-MUSIME (Kenya, AMREF, currently with Rockefeller Foundation)
  • PROF. RACHEL GUMBI (South Africa, Department of Health)

WORKING SECRETARIAT

  • DR STEVE CHANDIWANA (Blair Research Institute)
  • DR MOSES CHIMBARI (Blair Research Institute)
  • DR MWELE N. MALECELA (National Institute of Medical Research, Tanzania)

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Formation of the Independent Group for Health in Africa (IGHA)

Following deliberations on health issues unique to Africa the Arusha meeting decided to form a network organization called the Independent Group for Health in Africa (IGHA) that would act as a watchdog for health in Africa.

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What IGHA Intends to do?

How can African health institutions and experts best contribute to building a healthy Africa? How can African professionals play a central role in international health issues that influence the African continent? Are Africans effectively engaged in discussions on the good governance of international health institutions? Or are they mere bystanders awaiting initiatives from the North?

These were some of the questions that a select group of African professionals raised during an ad hoc meeting at the 8th International Congress of the World Federation of Public Health Associations held in Arusha, Tanzania from the 14- 16 October 1997.

The ad hoc meeting acknowledgement and supported the objectives of the Rockefeller Foundation financed and assisted workshops held in Pocantico, (New York), Cuernavaca (Mexico), Cairo (Egypt), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Manila (Philippines) during 1996-1997 to discuss various aspects of international health. These workshops arose from the need to reform the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international institutions involved in global health issues.

The regional meetings culminated in the Bellagio declaration of August 1997 which had the more limited objective of promoting transparency in the selection of a new director general (DG) of the WHO in 1998 and in providing fresh ideas for reforming the organization. Participants of the Arusha meeting concluded that the Africa region had special needs in health, which should be clearly articulated through the formation of an

independent watchdog for health in Africa

The key highlights from the Arusha meetings are:-

  • Support for the posing of questions to candidates for the WHO DG post through the open letter to the WHO executive board published in the Lancet vol. 350 September, 1997 pp 748-751..

  • Lobby WHO to consider redistribution of resources on a need basis. In his regard Africa was seen as a continent with acute health problems that called for more allocation of resources

  • Promote discussion on global health beyond WHO to also critically analyze the operations of other international health actors such as UNICEF, World Bank, NGOs etc.

  • Strongly encourage African countries to increase their financial commitment to WHO as well strengthen transparency and good governance of national public sector programmes like health.

  • Encourage African experts to work diligently on topical health problems like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria and come up with African solutions.

  • Foster strong partnerships among government, the private sector and other non governmental health agencies operating in the region.

  • Set up an expert group to advise African governments on health issues;such a group has to be independent from governmental or United Nations (UN) organizations.
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The Way Forward

ACTIVITY

ACTION BY

DEADLINE

Formulation and documentation of IGHA constitution.

Chairperson Secretary General

Dec 1997

Audit surveys of resource flows in the health sector by governments, NGOs, and international organizations in Africa.

Consultant

June 1998

Formation of focal points and creation of a network

Secretariat

Jan 1998

Formative meetings of focal points. *

Steering committee

June 1998

Creation of a Website for IGHA

Secretariat

Jan 1998

Production of a brochure

Secretariat

Feb 1998

Electronic conference

Secretariat

To be advised

Network Conference and Evaluation of IGHA

Steering committee and secretariat

Dec 1999

Newsletter

Secretariat

Jan. 1998

Capacity building workshop

Steering committee and secretariat

To be advised

Telephone conferences

Secretariat

Jan 1998

Formulate a research agenda for IGHA on critical health issues affecting Africa

Steering committee and secretariat

June 1998

*It is expected that these meetings will take place during other conferences taking place in the African Region. The following is a list of the conferences taking place in 1998:

  • 19th African Health Sciences Congress- Arusha , Tanzania 13- 17 th April 1998

  • 3rd Pan African African Conference on Malaria June 1998 Nairobi, Kenya.

  • 2 nd Global Forum on Health Research, Geneva, June 1998.

Contact details

The Secretary General
Dr Stephen K. Chandiwana
Independent Group for Health in Africa
(IGHA)
P. O. Box BW 1353, Borrowdale
Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263-4-870-404/5
Fax: +263-4-870-403
Email: igha@ecoweb.co.zw

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