Posted by: ihfgeneva | November 12, 2013

“District Healthcare in Africa: Progress and Prospects 25 Years After the Harare Declaration”:Regional Conference in Dakar, Senegal

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“District Healthcare in Africa: Progress and Prospects 25 Years After the Harare Declaration”:Regional Conference in Dakar, Senegal

The IHF was represented by Dominique Colas, President of the French National Association of Local Healthcare Centres/Facilities and Director of the Penthievre Geriatric Group, at the regional conference on “District Healthcare in Africa: Progress and Prospects 25 years after the Harare Declaration” held on 21-23 October in Dakar, Senegal. The conference, directed by Bruno Meessen, Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp (Belgium), and organized by the Harmonization for Health in Africa (HHA), the community of practice, “Delivery of Health Services” group and Because Health; brought together some 160 participants from Francophone and Anglophone Africa. Participants and sponsors included the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWA), the Ministry of Health of Senegal, UNICEF (Muskoka Fund), WHO Africa and the Embassy of France.

The aim of the conference was to broaden the scope of experiences and reflect back on the Harare Declaration, issued in 1987, that has since been overshadowed by the Bamako Initiative. The Harare Declaration was originally created to implement a strategy of primary health care service with aims to:

  • Decentralize management of human and financial resources
  • Establish decentralized planning process at the district level
  • Strengthen community involvement
  • Promote intersectoral action
  • Develop leadership in primary health care
  • Mobilize actors and redefine the role and functioning of the hospital

Due to the focus on mobilizing actors and redefining the role and functioning of the hospital, the Institute of Tropical Medicine invited Dominique Colas to represent the IHF. He was the only representative of the hospital cause among the 160 participants present.

The focus of the conference was to revise the Harare Declaration based on developments occurring in African countries today, which include an aging population, overburden of chronic diseases in addition to communicable diseases, increased urbanization and new technologies and social networks. Current circumstances have also made it difficult to finance health systems, specifically in rural areas of Africa.

In this context, large organizations have put forward principles and definitions that seem to have placed the district hospital under an imaginary straightjacket, however in reality this is not the case. Due to this consideration, the new Harare Declaration aims to:

The conference concluded that  these clearly defined regulations and conditions are necessary for decision-makers, international organizations, large NGOs, governments, etc. to ensure sufficient and effective provision of financial resources, human resources, supply of drugs, non-interference. It may be beneficial to organize a conference in the future dedicated solely to the redefinition of the Hospital in African countries, in order to further these regulations against the background of new developments across Africa.

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