UAE — Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, a Cabinet Member and Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the UAE, has announced a US$200 million grant to improve the health sector for the youth in Africa.
This substantial investment aims at strengthening health systems in Africa that are capable of addressing the challenges posed by climate change and delivering effective health services to the continent’s youth.
The announcement was made during Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan’s participation in the “Investing in Health for Today and Tomorrow” event, held on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) at Expo City Dubai.
In his statement, Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan emphasized the UAE’s commitment to investing in robust health systems that can adapt to climate change and provide vital services to the youth in Africa.
This initiative seeks to enhance the capabilities of African youth, enabling them to contribute to building a better future for their communities and countries.
During his keynote speech at the event, he highlighted the transformative impact of investing in youth since those aged under 25 years make up more than 60 percent of Africa’s population, making this investment crucial for the continent’s future.
Moreover, Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan noted that the future of Africa depends on providing quality health and educational services, as well as fostering essential skills development for young people.
This strategic initiative reflects the UAE’s acknowledgement of the urgent need to invest in the health of Africa’s youth to enhance opportunities for prosperity and development.
Furthermore, the UAE is committed to fostering ongoing partnerships with African countries, demonstrating its dedication to supporting sustainable development efforts across the continent.
This is not the first of its kind in Africa. The Africa CDC received support for its professional community health workers (CHWs) on December 3 during the inaugural COP28 Health Day in the United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the Reaching the Last Mile Forum.
The Global Fund, in particular, announced funding of US$900 million for the next three years, 74% of which will be invested in African countries.
The additional funding will complement the contributions of other partners supporting community health worker programs.
The leadership of the Africa CDC welcomed this ground-breaking commitment at the COP28 in Dubai and expressed appreciation to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Chief Executive Officer of Reaching the Last Mile, and all partners for making this commitment.
The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Africa Frontline First, the Global Fund, the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, and the Mastercard Foundation were among the partners that took part, according to the Africa CDC.
Other organizations that have pledged to bolster and revitalize their combined support for community health workers are the Skoll Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, PEPFAR, the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), USAID, and UNICEF.
CHW programs are underfunded, with a $4.4 billion annual funding gap, and community health financing suffers from severe discoordination, forcing them to focus on specific diseases and have competing priorities.
This leads to inefficient investments and under-supported systems. This status quo also undermines governments’ agendas and reinforces the lack of political prioritization and insufficient domestic resources for community health.
This is a significant step towards improving healthcare services in Africa and ensuring that CHWs receive the necessary support to carry out their duties effectively.
This commitment builds on growing momentum for community health as partners committed to collective and coordinated investments and affirms governments’ leadership role in setting health priorities.
This announcement further encourages a call to action for other partners to join the momentum to scale community health programs in alignment with the Africa CDC Continental Community Health Coordination Mechanism (CCHCM).