We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all of you a Happy New Year 2012. We know that the next 12 months hold challenges at the global level, for the African continent, and for our communities. Africa is changing in many ways. We think the globalization of its economy and civic uprisings can provide opportunities to strengthen the health sector.
This blog, as you know, is run by a community of experts actively working in the field of health financing in Africa. These communities of experts are convinced that health for all is achievable in Africa. The challenges before us are enormous and will require perseverance. But things have changed in recent years, and in many respects, progress is more and more tangible.
The year 2012 gives us the opportunity to look back and evaluate progress, as this year marks some important anniversaries. The year 1987 - some 25 years ago - was an important one for health systems in African countries. In August 1987, African countries gathered in Harare to sign a statement marking the adoption of the health district as the strategy for implementation of primary health care. A month later, at another meeting in Bamako, cost recovery and the community participation became the other axis for strengthening public health systems (which were suffering major problems as a result of the budget crisis that affected by many African states). Since then, the Bamako Initiative has certainly had a major impact on health systems ... and has also inspired a lot of debate.
The year 2012 also marks another anniversary: the first experience with performance-based financing (PBF) in the health sector in Africa began in 2002. Ten years of PBF and we have already come a long way! We are sure that many of our members will want to celebrate the first decade to which they have contributed so much.
Because these anniversaries are important, the editorial team of this blog plans to make them key themes for the next 12 months. We already have some ideas in mind, but we hope we can also count on you for input on these topics. Feel free to contact us if you have any views to share.
While we will do our best to consolidate the excellent start of this blog in 2012, as facilitators of the various financing communities of practice, we are also engaged on other knowledge sharing fronts. The HHA CoPs, as you will remember, work through online discussion groups, working groups, and publications. Our communities of practice also have a “live” component. The year 2011 was rich in this respect, since each of our communities was able to organize at least one face-to-face event. We were also active and present at events organized by others. We hope to stay the course in 2012. We will keep you posted through our online discussion groups about the events we organize. And we certainly intend to be present at the next global symposium devoted to health systems research (Beijing in November 2012).
To our readers who are not yet members of our communities of practice, we encourage you to register for our online discussion groups to stay informed about our many collaborative activities.
Allison & David Bruno