On World Health Day, 7 April, two historical organizations for cooperation, Amref Health Africa-Italia and CIAI, the Italian Center for Childhood Aid, announced a partnership agreement. AMREF gave the news of the new initiative on the day the report “State of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Africa Report” was published. A comprehensive document covering the progress of African countries towards the goal of universal health coverage (UHC).
Among the most important points of the report is that health coverage in Africa is low with only 48% of the population receiving basic healthcare services. This means that about 615 million people do not receive healthcare.
In this scenario, access to essential services for women and girls in Africa is particularly low with only half (49%) of African women having access to a suitable family planning programs between 2015 and 2019. Furthermore, each year 15 million people fall into poverty due to healthcare costs and although the continent hosts 17% of the world’s population, it represents 23% of the global load of diseases.
African countries’ ability to mobilize resources for the healthcare sector is influenced by inadequate economic services and high levels of poverty, economic dependence and the informal sector. An underdeveloped manufacturing sector means that African countries rely on the import of essential healthcare products. This increases the costs of the products and compromises supply for health safety.
It is clear that the challenges for African countries to reach UHC is not only about the healthcare system but also about the larger social, political and economic context in each country. Nevertheless, the continent has immense resources that, if exploited, will accelerate progress towards UHC.
In the meantime, two “historic” organizations in the Italian tertiary sector have chosen to form an alliance to face the challenges, that have become even more difficult and hostile with the pandemic, with renewed energy. United by founding values and the desire to continue to make a difference in the lives of many fragile, vulnerable people facing hardships, Amref Health Africa-Italia and CIAI can achieve more and more effective results.
It is an innovative and unique decision in Italy because both organizations will maintain their identity and continue on their own paths, but enriched. It is also innovative for the message it is sending: at a time in which, in addition to the pre-existing difficulties, examples of strong disintegration are multiplying, CIAI and AMREF have decided to act positively to change the circumstances in which they operate by acknowledging the importance of aggregation.
By virtue of AMREF’s experience, the largest healthcare organization in Africa, CIAI will entrust a branch of its activities: international cooperation in Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, and it will also hand over the management of their long-distance adoption programs for those countries. In doing this, these activities can be intensified and the partnership will allow for new similar projects to be developed in Italy. CIAI will maintain its subsidiarity projects in the countries in which it operates as an authorized body for international adoption practices in Italy.
The goal of the partnership is to continue and strengthen the efficacy of ongoing projects in Africa and focus on the wellbeing of the children, who are the beneficiaries of the work that CIAI has been carrying out, and the important presence of AMREF in Africa.
“Uniting skills and knowledge for the well-being of the more fragile is the best path to the future. CIAI brings to this partnership all its experience and a unique approach to childhood: look at every child as if he were your child, with an overall view of his needs,” said Paola Crestani, President of CIAI
“The partnership with CIAI reinforces a path begun by AMREF before the pandemic which saw us strongly opposed to the fragmentation of the tertiary sector and staunch supporters of the need for solutions with greater impact in the areas. This led to our encounter with CIAI, whom we hold in great esteem for their skills and the work carried out in the three countries, knowing that we will be able to guarantee long-lasting solutions for healthcare,” said Guglielmo Micucci, Director of Amref Health Africa-Italia.