Mozambique hails steps taken towards meeting AU health target
Mozambique has been taking “encouraging steps” towards the African Union target, enshrined in the Abuja Declaration of 2001, that governments should spend at least 15 per cent of their budgets on health care, state news agency AIM reports here Monday.
Speaking on Sunday in Abuja, where he is part of the Mozambican delegation, led by Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, attending the AU Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, the agency quotes Health Minister Alexandre Manguele as saying that “Mozambique has been advancing in this direction, since the budget has been increased in line with the country’s capacity”.
As an example, Manguele cited the fact that the operations of Mozambique’s National AIDS Council (CNCS) now “depends fundamentally on the state budget”, rather than on foreign donors.
But the harsh reality is that Mozambique is still a very long way from meeting the Abuja Declaration target. According to Finance Minister Manuel Chang, introducing the 2013 budget in the National Assembly last December, only 10.3 per cent of the budget is allocated to health.
The summit is being held 12 years after African heads of state met in the Nigerian capital and signed a plan of action against these diseases.
In addition to the 15 per cent target, the Abuja Declaration also committed African governments to suspend customs duties and other economic barriers to all products, particularly medicines, involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Manguele also declared that Mozambique has taken an important step in the fight against AIDS by introducing a new therapeutic regime which, it is hoped, will reduce the number of people who start anti-retroviral treatment, but later drop out.
Under the new therapeutic regime, patients take a single pill, rather than several, per day. “The regime we have now introduced will make life easier for patients. This is a great advance”, said Manguele.