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African public health emergency fund: accelerating the progress of implementation (AFR/RC64/7)

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  1. In recognition of the high occurrence of public health emergencies in the African Region and the lack of adequate resources to respond effectively to these emergencies, the African Public Health Emergency Fund (APHEF) was established. This was in line with Regional Committee Resolution AFR/RC61/R3 and Article 50 (f) of the WHO Constitution. The article recommends additional appropriations by the governments of countries of the WHO regions if the proportion received from the central budget of the Organization is insufficient for carrying out their functions. The APHEF is expected to supplement the efforts of governments of affected Member States and partners and promote solidarity among Member States in addressing public health emergencies.

  2. In order to accelerate the implementation of the APHEF, the Regional Committee through Resolution AFR/RC61/R3 requested the Regional Director to: (a) set up the operations of the APHEF including drawing up the operations manual governing its effective functioning; (b) negotiate with the African Development Bank (AfDB) on the instrument for the establishment of the APHEF; (c) continue advocacy with Heads of State and Government, the African Union and Regional Economic Communities to ensure sustained contribution to the APHEF; and (d) report to the Sixty-second session of the Regional Committee, and on a regular basis thereafter, on the implementation of the APHEF.

  3. Since the adoption of this resolution, the operations manual of the APHEF has been developed. The manual outlines the management, administrative and governance processes of APHEF. In addition, the manual sets forth procedures for resource mobilization, monitoring and evaluation of the Fund. The Monitoring Committee of the Fund endorsed the manual at its first meeting held in Brazzaville, in May 2013.

  4. To ensure sustained contribution to the APHEF, the Regional Director has continued advocacy with Heads of State, the African Union and Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This high level advocacy resulted in the endorsement of the Regional Committee resolutions on APHEF by the Heads of State and Government at the 19th ordinary Assembly of the African Union(Assembly/AU/Dec.436(XIX).

  5. The Regional Office keeps inviting the African Development Bank (AfDB) to take up its role as the Trustee of APHEF. As an interim measure, the WHO Regional Office for Africa has continued to receive APHEF contributions as recommended by the Sixty-second session of the Regional Committee.

  6. Since the establishment of the APHEF in 2012, eight of the 47 Member States had paid a total of US$ 3 611 731 by the end of May 2014. A summary of the yearly Member States’ contributions is attached herewith as Annex 3. A total of US$ 1 326 073 from APHEF has been used to provide immediate financial assistance to seven countries, upon their request, for the management of declared public health emergencies.

  7. In this regard, APHEF supported life-saving interventions in Central African Republic (improving access to quality health care in three districts including rehabilitation of the Bangui Paediatric Hospital), South Sudan (strengthening emergency surgical services for war-related and other surgical emergencies in conflict-affected areas), Burundi and Zimbabwe (provision of immediate health care to populations affected by floods), Guinea and Liberia (for controlling the Ebola Viral Haemorrhagic Fever outbreak), and Cameroon (to provide emergency health intervention to Central African Republic refugees).

  8. The above interventions show that the APHEF has started to prove its value. However, the optimal functioning of the Fund faces significant challenges as summarized below.