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December 13, 2023

Raising Community Voices for Prioritizing Domestic Resource Mobilization for Health Security: GHAI's Impactful Event at CPHIA 2023

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The Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) recently participated in the 3rd International Conference on Public Health in Africa 2023 (CPHIA 2023 in Lusaka, Zambia), where they hosted a pivotal side event, "Raising Community Voices for Health Security." The side event drew over 70 participants, including representatives from Federal and State Ministries of Health, the World Bank, the Africa Centre for Disease Control and various renowned health institutions. The objectives included sharing GHAI tools at the country level, learning from experiences in Nigeria and Ghana, launching GHAI’s Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness: Facilitator’s Guide and expanding GHAI's community of advocates.

Vandana Shah, Vice President of Health Systems Strengthening at GHAI, set the tone by welcoming participants and introducing the organization's comprehensive programs, emphasizing the critical role of budget advocacy and resource mobilization in effective health policy implementation. Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), shared invaluable insights into Nigeria's commitment to health security. Dr. Adetifa highlighted how advocacy efforts led to the establishment of the NCDC, a pivotal institution mandated to prevent, detect and respond to public health threats. Notably, between 2018-2022, funding for the NCDC doubled within a three-year period, receiving $3.5 million in new funding in 2022 alone. Dr. Adetifa credited this success to the engagement of GHAI, and its local partners, Nigeria Health Watch and the Legislative Advocacy Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals, who played vital roles in supporting these advocacy measures, continuously engaging with legislators to secure funding and strengthen health security.

The opening remarks were followed by a program spotlight on GHAI’s Prevent Epidemics program in Ghana by Stephen Atasige, GHAI’s In-Country Coordinator, Ghana, and partners from SEND-Ghana, Emmanuel Ayifah and Harriet N-Agyemang. The event also marked the launch of GHAI’s Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness: Facilitator’s Guide, a comprehensive resource designed to empower advocates in teaching epidemic preparedness techniques to government officials and civil society organizations. The Facilitator’s Guide is based on GHAI’s Budget Advocacy Toolkit for Epidemic Preparedness, which was launched at CPHIA in 2022. Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan, GHAI’s In-Country Coordinator, Nigeria, presented the Facilitator’s Guide, emphasizing its role in supporting groups to implement budget advocacy for epidemic preparedness.

The event transitioned into interactive breakout sessions, addressing key components from the Facilitators Guide such as how to conduct a landscape analysis, define policy objectives, build coalitions, track budget accountability and advocate for budget sustainability. These sessions fostered robust discussions among participants, allowing for the exchange of insights, challenges and best practices. Over 30 participants actively engaged in the breakout groups, representing a diverse range of organizations committed to health security.

As Vandana Shah concluded the event, the resounding message was clear: community voices are instrumental in building resilient health systems and helping to mobilize domestic resources for epidemic preparedness. The collaborative efforts showcased at CPHIA 2023, from the NCDC’s success story to the launch of the Facilitator’s Guide and interactive breakout sessions, underline GHAI's commitment to empowering advocates worldwide. Dr. Adetifa's acknowledgment of GHAI's efforts, the doubling of NCDC's funding and the active participation of diverse stakeholders underscore the tangible impact of sustained advocacy efforts in mobilizing domestic resources for health security. The side event at CPHIA 2023 was a testament to GHAI's dedication to health advocacy, and as GHAI continues to empower communities, mobilize resources and drive positive change, the path towards resilient health systems and global health security becomes increasingly promising.

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