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International Conference on Primary Health Care and Health Systems in Africa
28 April 2008 - 30 April 2008
Health Systems & Services




The WHO Regional Office for Africa is organizing in collaboration with UNICEF, UNFPA, UNAIDS, World Bank, African Development Bank and other development partners, an International Conference of Primary Health Care (PHC) and Health Systems in Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 28 to 30 April 2008.

This Conference, hosted by the government of Burkina Faso, will be the first of its kind to take place in Africa in 2008 which marks the 30th anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration on PHC, and the 60th Anniversary of WHO.

The Alma Ata Declaration expressed the need for action by all governments, all health and development workers, and the world community to promote and protect the health of all the people of the world.

Since then, countries in the African Region have formulated or reviewed their national health policies and developed strategic plans in order to improve the performance of their health systems and reduce the burden of communicable and non communicable diseases for a better health status of their people.

Efforts are ongoing in many countries in the region to provide integrated health services that are accessible, affordable, of good quality; generate the necessary human and physical resources to make that possible; raise and pool the revenues used to purchase services; enhance managerial effectiveness and efficiency and community actions for health, and govern, steer and regulate the health sector through defining the vision and direction of health policy.

Despite these efforts, health systems development has been hampered by poverty; political instability; poor economic performance; heavy disease burden; lack of qualified and experienced health workers; poor health infrastructure; low access to and quality of essential health technologies; and weak stewardship. This has slowed down progress in attaining MDGs and other national, regional and global initiatives.

Recognizing that the PHC is a valid approach for strengthening health systems countries in the African Region continue to demonstrate interest in and commitment to PHC and are requesting support and guidance from WHO and other partners.

In response, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo, decided to organize this Conference in collaboration with other development partners, the first in the region devoted to PHC and health systems.

The conference provides an ideal opportunity to draw the attention of Member States in our region to the PHC agenda and health systems strengthening both of which are also priorities of the WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan.

Objectives of the Conference

Examine lessons learnt in 30 years of implementing PHC in the African Region.

Identify strategic orientations for scaling up essential interventions to achieve health related MDGs using PHC approach for strengthening health systems.

Renew commitment of all countries in the region in moving forward PHC to strengthen health systems

Promote regional partnerships to strengthen health systems and PHC implementation

Participants in the Conference

About 500 participants will take part in the Conference, including political decision-makers and governments, managers of health services, representatives of training institutions, academicians, researchers, social-anthropologists; representatives of nongovernmental organizations, communities and youth and women associations. Other participants include representatives of ministries in charge of education, women, youths and finance, ministries operating in the area of health as well as representatives of international organizations, bilateral cooperation institutions and WHO.

Themes for discussions

Themes of the Conference include:

  • Governance of health systems
  • Equity in access to quality health services
  • Resources (Human Resources for Health, Medicine, Technology)
  • Health financing
  • Health service delivery
  • Multi-sectoral collaboration
  • Community Ownership and participation
  • Decentralization

Themes and sub themes will be presented and discussed in plenary and parallel sessions.

Click to access Conference Background Documents and Presentations and Speeches