African Forum for Primary Health Care
We, as health workers on the frontlines of Primary Care (PC) services in health systems of Africa and supporters of the Primary Health Care (PHC) approach, are committed to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in Africa. However, it is very easy for UHC to be seen as a financial solution without the required reform in PC service delivery. The centrality of PHC to UHC efforts may become lip service especially when frontline PC worker voices are ignored in Africa. We feel that there is a serious risk of African UHC becoming directed towards specialist and hospital services focused on vocal city elites, rather than PC services and PHC approach that serves the often-silent masses, especially in rural communities.
We welcome the UHC Declaration, adopted at the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage in New York on 23rd September 2019, for Clause 37 under “Strengthen PHC for UHC”. However, it does not specifically address human resources for PC services, specifically the need for everyone to have access to well-trained health workers in their first contact with health care. Overly-simplistic solutions for PC services through vertical disease-based approaches are not sustainable. We welcome the move by WHO towards PC services that are integrated, continuous and people-centred. We know that there is a human resource shortage in Africa and believe strongly in the need for teamwork. This must include family doctors, clinical officers/associates, nurses (including advanced-trained nurses and midwives), public health professionals, community health workers and many others in a PC/PHC team-based approach to well-defined populations that builds accountable care for the people of Africa. We are all committed to innovatively building the capacity of PC/PHC teams at scale in Africa.
We plan to bring together the leadership of ALL health workers at the coalface in African primary care and ensure that we ALL have a voice in policy on PC/PHC in Africa. We hope to develop an African Forum for Primary Health Care (AfroPHC) as the voice of the PC/PHC team and its supporters, sharing and supporting each other in advocating for PHC. The European Forum for Primary Care serves as a useful example and a possible supporting organisation.
In order to build the African Forum for Primary Health Care (AfroPHC).
We hope to engage with members of the PHC team, wherever they are across Africa, using a Google Group as a communication vehicle for anyone interested.
We plan to have a face-to-face workshop/conference in June 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa to explore the idea of AfroPHC further. This may be allied with the APN Conference.
We hope to have a regular AfroPHC pre-conference at the WONCA Africa biannual conference, with next one in Abuja, Nigeria in 2021, as a way to build on this PC/PHC teamwork.
We ask all organisations and individuals interested in developing AfroPHC to join here.
PLEASE share this with any of your local colleagues and sister organisations in the PHC team in Africa and ask them to join the discussion.
- Prof. Shabir Moosa, President WONCA Africa (for family doctors)
- Dr. David Lusale, African Network of Associate Clinicians (for clinical officers/associates)
- Ms. Bongi Sibanda, AAAPN Coalition (for family nurse practitioners)
- Dr Lillian Dodzo, (for midwives)
- Dr. Thembeka Gwagwa, ICN (for nurses generally)
- Dr. Prosper Tumusiime, WHO AFRO
- Prof. Godwin Aja, Africa Regional Board Member, Towards Unity For Health (for public health practitioners)
- Prof Marietjie de Villiers, President AFREHealth (for health educators / researchers in Africa)
- Dr. Champion Nyoni, AfrIPEN (for allied health professions and interprofessional practice)
- Dr. George Kimathi, AMREF (for CHWs/community stakeholders)
- Mr. Nathaniel Otoo, Coordinator SPARC (for strategic purchasing officials)
- Dr. Francis Ohanyido, The West African Institute of Public Health and its Academy (for public health)