6th AfHEA Biennial Scientific Conference: WHO Sessions on Health Financing


The African Health Economics Association (AfHEA) is organizing its 6and scientific conference on March 7and – 11and, 2022. This conference aims to promote debate and discussion among African and international researchers, experts and policy makers on resilient health systems and the role of health economics and policy research in health systems resilient in Africa. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions will be conducted entirely online.

The target audience for this conference is made up of researchers, policy makers, health professionals, academics and students, practitioners from ministries of health, finance and related agencies, individuals from INGOs/ NGOs and CBOs, development partners and other actors with research or policy interest in areas covered by AfHEA.

For those who have registered for the AfHEA conference, the WHO health financing team in Geneva, together with regional colleagues, will organize or co-organize several sessions throughout the week. Please find more details regarding each of these sessions below.

AfHEA High Level Plenary 1

DATE: March 7, 2022 2:15-3:30 p.m.

The AfHEA plenary on the first day of the event encourages members and partners to reflect on contemporary global health issues that require research and policy to address. This year’s theme is “Building Back Better Health Systems: The Role of Innovation, Multisectoral Approaches and Global Financial Architecture in Building Resilient Health Systems in Africa”. Several speakers, including Joe Kutzin, Unit Head of the Health Financing Team at WHO Geneva, will share their experience and expertise during this session to define the central theme of the conference. The session will be moderated by Cheryl Cashin, Executive Director of Results for Development.

How have adjustments in public financial management and strategic purchasing contributed to the health sector response to COVID-19? Lessons for building back better.

DATE: March 7, 2022, 3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. CET

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed systemic public financial management (PFM) bottlenecks in health spending. It has forced countries to adapt their PFM systems to provide greater financial flexibility and adapt accountability systems to respond to this unprecedented crisis. Similarly, countries have had to reconfigure their purchasing arrangements to meet new and different demands for services. PFM and purchase agreements are closely linked, requiring a joint focus on research and policy advice.

The session will share global and country perspectives on country PFM and strategic purchasing aspects of the health response to COVID-19. He will discuss barriers and enablers for an effective response, key adjustments that have been introduced in countries to facilitate health sector response, and lessons on how to rebuild and strengthen PFM systems and agreements. purchasing strategies to make them more responsive to future pandemics and able to sustain efforts towards UHC.

Hélène Barroy, Senior Public Finance Expert, WHO/HQ
Jonatan Daven, Economist, National Treasury, South Africa
Inke Mathauer, Senior Health Financing Specialist, WHO/HQ
Aaron Asibi Abuosi, Associate Professor Health Policy and Management, University of Ghana
Danielle Serebro, The Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative, South Africa

Decentralization: friend or foe of the management of public finances in health?
Co-organized between ThinkWell and WHO/HQ

DATE: March 7, 2022, 5:15 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. CET

In recent decades, most countries in the world have embarked on decentralization processes that affect the delivery of health services. At the same time, public funding has grown faster than any other source of health spending, leading to increased attention to the effectiveness, efficiency and equity with which governments spend public money on health. health. As a result, public financial management (PFM) systems are increasingly recognized as key enablers of effective health financing reforms towards universal health coverage. In many contexts, health system performance depends on coherence between decentralization, PFM and health financing reforms—where these are disconnected or poorly coordinated, service delivery can suffer. Despite these important relationships, it is only recently that focused efforts have been made to systematically assess how decentralization affects PFM processes and, therefore, health service delivery. Many health actors still do not understand how PFM works and how functional and financial roles are distributed and fulfilled in decentralized contexts. Therefore, to guide appropriate policy responses, there is a need to further disaggregate PFM processes and identify bottlenecks affecting health service delivery in decentralized countries.

This session will explore how decentralization has shaped PFM processes in the health sector, including budget development, approval, execution and accountability. It will build on a learning initiative undertaken by ThinkWell and the World Health Organization to document the decentralization and PFM dynamics shaping the health systems of eight countries: Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Tanzania and Uganda.

Michael Chaitkin, ThinkWell, Uganda
Marie-Jeanne Offosse, ThinkWell, Burkina Faso
Salomão Lourenço, ThinkWell, Mozambique
John Kinuthia, International Budget Partnership, Kenya
Hélène Barroy, Senior Public Finance Expert, WHO/HQ

Operationalization of efficiency: opportunities, constraints and necessities

DATE: March 8, 2022, 3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. CET

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the underlying weaknesses and fragility of health systems. This fragility stems not only from underinvestment, but also from the way investments (donor and domestic) have been channeled to support health goals. Programmatic investments that focus on single goals, often at the expense of overall system strengthening, have proven neither effective nor adaptable. As emerging threats arise, whether from pandemics, climate change or other health issues, health systems and the financing that underpins them will need to be flexible and agile to protect and respond.

Given these realities, no country can afford to manage resources inefficiently. All resources should be used across the system to meet immediate health needs, while preparing for and adapting to future demands. This session will focus on these adaptations in the way funds are channeled and systems are organized to promote efficiency, sustainability and adaptability. The evidence generated from the country studies will form the basis of the presentations and related discussions. This concrete evidence of the costs of fragmentation is needed to identify opportunities for reform that can improve the efficient use of resources in a way that best aligns with overall health system level goals and needs.

Alexandra Earle, Technical Officer, WHO/HQ
Ama Fenny, Senior Researcher, ISSER, University of Ghana
Christabel Abewe, Health Financing Officer, WHO/Uganda
Diane Muhongerwa, Technical Officer for Health Financing, WHO/AFRO
Ghada Muhjazi, Technical Officer, WHO/EMRO
Juliet Nabyonga, Acting WHO Representative in Kenya, WHO
Kingsley Addai Frimpong, Technical Officer for Health Financing, WHO/Ghana
Susan Sparkes, Health Financing Specialist, WHO/HQ


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