Africa Health Agenda International Conference 2021
Theme: Decade for Action: Driving Momentum to Achieve UHC in Africa

8th – 10th March 2021   |  14:00 – 18:00 EAT

March 8th – 10th


Engaging Plenary Sessions

High Level Roundtables

Learn and Network

Health Research and Resources

About Event

AHAIC 2021 is an African-led biennial global health convening hosted by Amref Health Africa, a leading health development organisation in Africa founded in 1957. This year, the virtual conference is co-convened by Africa CDC, Roche, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).

The conference brings together diverse stakeholders to accelerate progress toward Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and collectively chart a course forward by highlighting and seeking to address Africa’s most pressing health challenges. To inspire greater commitment and action, the conference will spotlight key health issues on the continent, and showcase how new research, innovation and political commitments can solve those challenges to advance UHC.

Highlights from the AHAIC 2019
Conference held in Rwanda


Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

CSO Sponsors

Content Contributors


Why should you register for AHAIC 2021

Attending and participating in AHAIC 2021 will provide unique opportunities to connect, learn, empower and transform by giving attendees access to Africa’s biggest virtual health conference. This platform will offer both speakers and audiences a chance to address the challenges faced by Africa’s health sector, and to explore opportunities to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC) across the continent. Participants will have free virtual access to compelling sessions featuring thought leaders and change makers, explore themes that meaningfully reflect the unique African health context, enjoy opportunities to network with peers, and learn and access resources from some of the biggest decision-makers in health on the continent.

Who should attend

The conference will bring together a diverse group of subject matter experts and stakeholders from multiple sectors, including medical practitioners, researchers, scientists, financiers/donors, development partners, political and governmnet leaders, private sector players, civil society, community health workers, youth, health advocates and more. With a focus on presenting creative ideas, fostering multi-sectoral partnerships, and championing health leadership and accountability, AHAIC 2021 will be an inclusive health conference that will spotlight diverse and dynamic voices.


Monday, 8 March 2021

2:00pm – 2:30pm EAT

Opening Ceremony

Main Stage

  • Musical performance (4-5 min)
  • Opening video (4-5 min)
  • Welcome Address from Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa (10 min)
  • Opening Remarks from Dr. Charles Okeahalam, Chairperson of the International Board of Directors, Amref Health Africa (10 min)

2:30pm – 3:00pm EAT

Fireside Chat: Politics for Good - Leading the UHC Agenda with Conviction

Main Stage

The fireside chat will be an informal discussion between African Heads of State and health leaders, who have stood tall in the face of adversity and set out on paths that few others would have the courage to take. It will feature inspirational leaders in conversation, providing a platform to share experiences and learnings of advancing the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, inspire participants, and set the scene for the plenaries and sessions to follow. 

3:00pm – 3:50pm EAT

Roundtable: Launch of the AHAIC Report on the State of UHC in Africa

Main Stage

To ensure that Africa is on track in progressing towards the achievement of UHC targets by 2030, Amref Health Africa has established an independent commission tasked with reviewing progress and providing recommendations on leadership, accountability, technology/innovation, and health security, to help guide the continent towards these targets. As part of its mandate, the AHAIC Commission on the State of UHC in Africa will share a State of UHC in Africa Report, which will map the progress of African countries towards their UHC goals. The report will also reflect on successes, barriers and lessons learned on the journey towards providing equitable access, quality health care and financial protection in Africa. This session will feature an opening video, followed by a moderated roundtable, where Commissioners will share and discuss the findings of the report.

3:50pm – 4:00pm EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

4:00pm – 5:00pm EAT

Plenary 1: Leadership for Change: Africa's Journey to UHC

Main Stage

COVID-19 is an acute reminder of what is at stake if we do not achieve UHC. Africa is at a crucial juncture where the region is grappling with inadequate health systems and insufficient funds for health care to cater to its population’s needs. Adding to this is the impact of a crippling pandemic that has presented the region with the combined challenges of social and economic recovery and highlighted the urgent leadership needed to solve the continent’s most complex health challenges. This session will bring together health leaders from across the continent for thought-provoking discussions on how they see themselves shaping the UHC agenda in Africa over the next decade. This session will celebrate examples of strong leadership driving Africa’s health agenda forward; amplify the need for strong policies and investment in lateral programs, like UHC, in addition to vertical programs; and discuss opportunities that governments and partners can leverage to increase investments toward UHC efforts. The session will open with a video featuring community voices speaking on UHC, followed by a moderated panel discussion.

5:00pm-5:05 – EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

5:05pm – 6:05pm EAT

Parallel Sessions


5-6 parallel sessions will run concurrently and will tackle a range of health issues. Sessions include:

Breaking Barriers: Gender-inclusive health and leadership in Africa

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

Women’s health is vital to advance broader health and development goals across Africa, yet women themselves – especially African women – are underrepresented in leadership and decision-making across global and national health institutions, while women’s health is often deprioritized or underfunded compared to other health issues. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that gains made in women’s health are being threatened, especially when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).

Taking place on International Women’s Day, this session will elevate the discourse on women in global health – focusing on both women as leaders and women as beneficiaries of health programs and funding. The session will provide a platform to highlight the vital role that women leaders have played in addressing health challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic – from policymaking and technical leadership to scientific research and development. It will also shine a spotlight on women’s involvement in health policies and decision-making (particularly for women’s health, SRHR and MNCH) as well as the gaps in women’s leadership and influence that must be addressed. Conversations will encourage greater collaboration and coordination among stakeholders around advancing a gender-equitable approach to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and reiterate the need to prioritize funding, policies and programs that meet the health needs of women and girls, as part of countries’ UHC plans and investments.

The moderator will also engage the speakers to discuss the importance of dismantling barriers for young women leaders. Speakers will be asked to share personal experiences and insights of the barriers they faced (or continue to face) in their careers, how they have overcome gender barriers, why these challenges remain, and what women leaders and their allies can do to help change the playing field for the next generation of women leaders.

Purposeful Partnerships

Hosted by Amref Health Africa 

Advancing Africa’s health agenda requires breaking down silos and adopting a whole-of-society approach. As we work to advance Universal Health Coverage (UHC), particularly in the context of COVID-19, governments, the private sector, civil society and all other stakeholders will have a responsibility and a role to play. Partnerships must be fostered across sectors and geographies to leverage the knowledge, skills, expertise and resources of diverse players. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has tested health systems, disrupted economies and transformed the global health landscape – in light of this, it is imperative that health partnerships are flexible, dynamic and adaptable to shifting circumstances. This session will explore the potential of forging strategic, transparent, mutually beneficial and innovative partnerships to help catalyse progress towards shared health targets – as well as the value of engaging new and unconventional partners to tackle global health issues, including partners from outside the health sector. In particular, this session will make the case for multi-sectoral collaborations that have emerged or adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic, to respond to immediate needs while also focusing on sustainability and long-term goals. Speakers will highlight how non-traditional partnerships can engage new audiences to promote change, how sectors outside of health and development can contribute to advancing Africa’s health agenda, and how flexibility and innovation are key to driving impact. This session will also highlight recommendations from successful, purpose-driven partnerships for effective collaboration to advance Africa’s health agenda. The conversation on “Purposeful Partnerships” presents an opportunity to celebrate innovative and adaptable partnerships, discuss how to scale these up to reach wider populations, and identify new areas of potential impact and collaboration, to deliver on our shared goal of health for all.

Technology and Digital Platforms for UHC

Hosted by Amref Health Africa 

Less than 50% of Africans have access to modern health care facilities, and many countries are struggling to meet the needs of their population due to acute health worker shortages. In the face of these obstacles, innovation is transforming health care diagnostics, treatment, delivery, data collection, and user experience in Africa. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the development of more than 120 health technology innovations that have been piloted or adopted in Africa, according to WHO – including technologies focused on surveillance, contact tracing, community engagement, treatment, laboratory systems and infection, prevention and control. This session will highlight how novel and innovative interventions are responding to emerging needs as well as long-standing health challenges across Africa; explore the value of data systems for health and how they are being leveraged to make strides towards health for all; spotlight African innovators; and showcase technologies that are leapfrogging progress towards UHC across the continent.

Women in Innovation: Providing leadership, creating solutions and driving change

Hosted by IFPMA; Co-sponsored by International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), and The Innovation Council

Innovation is crucial to identifying solutions to achieve the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs). Implementation of the SDGs requires all stakeholders to play their part. This International Women’s Day, women from diverse sectors, different countries and with distinct innovation models, will come together throughout the world to share their journey and how they are working to provide real life solutions. Many of them will have made an impact in their communities, or regionally and/or globally, through thinking differently and driving change through innovation and creativity. We want to celebrate your personal stories, and to highlight how you have impacted lives. And, above all, we want you to inspire future innovators, creators, engineers, and scientists.

Blended Finance for UHC

Hosted by Amref Netherlands      

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 – ensuring health and well-being for all at all ages – is critical to achieving progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Despite great progress, many African countries still lag far behind on key health and social security parameters, such as maternal mortality, under 5 mortality and health insurance coverage. The Covid-19 crisis lays bare a critical need to step-up long-term investments in healthcare to accelerate the pace towards achieving SDG3, beyond emergency response – but many African countries have limited financial capacity to make these investments, struggling with a public health financing shortfall estimated at $66bn a year (FT, 2019). Private capital can complement government investments in inclusive healthcare projects. The higher risk profile of such projects requires innovative blending of different sources of financing, including patient impact capital (equity, long term debt), concessional capital, and donor funds. In this interactive session, we will use concrete case studies to highlight different innovative financing solutions, and ask different players in the healthcare financing space to share their respective insights.

From strategy to implementation: on the pathways of the continent’s youngest countries towards digital transformations in health

Hosted by Governing Health Futures: The Lancet & Financial Times Commission

The Governing Health Futures 2030 Commission is exploring the convergence of digital health and artificial intelligence with universal health coverage (UHC), with a focus on the health and well-being of children and young people. The Commission is gathering information on different approaches to digital transformation of health systems, particularly in countries with large populations of young people under 25. In 2020, the Commission conducted a study on ten African countries with young populations (Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda) to better understand national priorities and activities for strengthening digitally enabled health systems, barriers to implementation, and the extent to which the needs and views of young people have factored in these efforts to date.

This session will provide an opportunity to hear the findings from the Commission’s study, and to contribute further insights on the experiences of African countries in developing and implementing digital health strategies. 

6:05pm EAT

Close of Day 1

(Open networking platform until 7:00 pm EAT)

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

2:00pm – 2:10pm EAT

Introduction to Day 2

Main Stage

2:10pm – 3:10pm EAT

Plenary 2: Build Back Better: Health Security Beyond COVID-19

Main Stage

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how glaring gaps in health security and health systems preparedness can fail to prevent the spread of disease outbreaks. To ensure Africa does not have to face the crippling effects of another pandemic, we need a well-planned and integrated response to improving health security and building healthy societies. This plenary will focus on how governments, private sector entities, civil society organizations and development partners need to put in place long term, country-led strategies to prevent another widespread disease outbreak and ultimately build back better post-COVID-19. This plenary will make the case for urgent, concrete action for governments and health leaders to take in order to strengthen health systems, prepare and protect populations from future disease outbreaks; highlight existing response and preparedness strategies to mitigate the risks of future disease outbreaks and build resilient health systems; and call upon health leaders, policy makers, pan-African organizations, academic and research institutions, and global organizations to commit to disease outbreak preparedness and recovery measures.

3:10pm – 3:15pm EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

3:15pm – 4:15pm EAT

Parallel Sessions


5-6 parallel sessions will run concurrently and will tackle a range of health issues. Sessions include:

Launching the FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index

Hosted by Roche

The FutureProofing Healthcare Africa Sustainability Index aims to take an objective view of how health systems are performing today and begin to prepare them for the future. Through publicly available data, the Index examines the fundamental drivers of sustainable healthcare systems, compares approaches between countries, identifies elements that lead to more sustainable care and promotes best practices through a future-focused discussion of real-world solutions. This session serves as the global reveal of the first Africa Sustainability Index, which reviewed data across 18 markets in Africa across major vital signs including access, financing, innovation and quality. The Index is supported by Roche and overseen by a panel of independent healthcare experts from across the continent. The Africa Sustainability Index is all the more relevant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic as we work to better understand the resilience of healthcare systems when dealing with major shocks like this one.

Redefining Human Resources for Health from the Laboratory to the Last Mile

Hosted by Johnson & Johnson

COVID-19 showed us that health systems strengthening is not the task of one organization, ministry or sector, but the work of all of us. The way out of the pandemic and to restoring strong primary care and pandemic preparedness is through the people of our system; all of us, working for all of them. From nurses and community health workers to data scientists and entrepreneurs, we need to unlock the capacity and ingenuity of people across the continuum of health – the laboratory through to the last mile.  Join Johnson & Johnson and our partners for a panel discussion on how capacity building at every level of health is redefining human resources for health beyond COVID-19. With technologists, nurses and researchers, get a frontline perspective on what is working to advance the leadership, skills and talent across Africa to solve the challenges ahead in our health system.

Strategic Health Purchasing: Changing the Conversation

Hosted by the Strategic Purchasing Africa Resource Centre (SPARC)

(3:15pm - 5:20pm EAT)

Two years after the SPARC launch, what has changed in the landscape of strategic health purchasing (SHP) on the continent? This session will unpack the gaps/challenges experienced by countries and SPARC’s efforts to generate evidence and develop the expertise at bridging these gaps. The session will include:

  • A spoken word performance to introduce the session 
  • An introductory presentation focusing on the functional capacities needed to drive progress on strategic purchasing
  • Presentation findings of a mapping exercise undertaken in 10 sub-Saharan African countries through the SPARC Technical Partners (TPs) Consortium
  • A fireside chat with key policymakers to provide framing on progress and challenges affecting the institutionalization of SHP
  • A moderated Q&A session – featuring policymakers and technical experts – open to all participants
  • Conclude the session and reflect on key messages

Climate and Health: Empowering Women and Youth to Drive Climate Solutions

Hosted by Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International has partnered with AMREF Health Africa to host a session on Climate Change and Public Health – bringing the key intersecting issues to the forefront, outlining the urgent multisectoral action needed to strengthen health systems and addressing the growing burden of climate change on communities in order to promote health security. 

Healthcare does not exist in isolation of social, political, and environmental factors that influence our societies. Health systems cannot be effective if we do not acknowledge and prepare for risks and pressures outside the health system itself. Climate change is one of the most imminent challenges to the health and well-being of people across the world, especially Africa. As climate change events grow in frequency and intensity, it becomes harder for many populations to get the basic food and water resources they need – thereby increasing susceptibility to disease. 

Despite being a global challenge, the repercussions of climate change disproportionately affect Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including many African countries. This session will highlight existing efforts and growing plans to address the impact of climate change on health across Africa. The session will focus on the importance of women’s leadership in addressing issues of climate locally, regionally and nationally; youth advocacy for climate justice; and issues surrounding climate change and its impact on the health and well-being of young people in Africa.  Global health organizations will be encouraged to join the conversation to learn ways they can integrate climate change advocacy, implementation and leadership into their programs. 

Zero Malaria Starts with Me - Draw the Line Against Malaria

Hosted by Malaria No More

Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign is a new youth chapter of the pan-African Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign that calls on young people across Africa to unite and fight malaria by driving more action, more innovation, more funding, and more leadership to end this disease within a generation and save lives.

 This session will discuss at length the role young people can play in the fight against malaria in Africa while also looking at the global progress on malaria, African governments commitments on malaria and finally dissemination of the Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign.

 Insufficient investment in the health sector or in actions to tackle the environmental and social determinants of health is a serious obstacle to improving health outcomes in Africa, particularly considering that the continent bears the bulk of the global morbidity and mortality burden of priority diseases like Malaria.  We acknowledge that active engagement of the youth in Africa towards the fight against malaria is now even more important at a time when Africa’s attention and effort is drawn towards achieving UHC.

Shaping Africa’s Healthcare Landscape through Inclusive Innovation

Hosted by Amref Health Innovations 

Who knew how much healthcare would be at the forefront of our daily news cycle for 2020? The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world around us and has highlighted the need for continued innovation in health care delivery. Technology plays a key and fundamental role in providing insights for decision makers to effect change and amplify impact outputs. It helps us connect the dots across the existing hierarchy of needs from the bottom up.

In a world where technology and innovation supports frontline health workers in health delivery, the pertinent question to ask is: How Might We evolve and optimize health systems in Africa to accelerate the delivery and provision of accessible and affordable healthcare, leaving no one behind? There is no doubt that technologies and innovative business practices can play a key role in addressing some of the most pressing health care challenges in sub-Saharan Africa - from innovation in data collection and analysis to global wellness and health security, to non-communicable diseases, assistive technologies and the strengthening of primary care to achieve universal health coverage without leaving anyone behind.

Championing these conversations will propagate and open up the opportunity for market linkages, sustainable impact and inclusive innovation. Existing technologies already give power of information, data and financing – directly to the people at the last mile. With money, information and data flowing smoothly through a single system, transparency and efficiency will increase. Speakers will be encouraged to share market knowledge and insights, including accomplishments and challenge and barrier tales in achieving universal health care across the continent. Join us to explore how innovation, functional partnerships and advocacy for inclusion continue to reframe and shape the future for healthcare in Africa.

4:15pm – 4:20pm EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

4:20pm – 5:20pm EAT

Town Halls & Parallel Sessions


5-6 town hall and/or parallel sessions will run concurrently and will tackle a range of health issues. Sessions include:

Town Halls:

Town Hall: Youth leading the future of Africa

Hosted by UNFPA

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) enable a wide range of health services for all youth, which include access to reproductive health services and information, as well as freedom from discrimination. While great strides have been made in the field of SRHR, marginalized groups such as youth, indigenous people, people with disabilities and LGBTQIA+ people are often left behind. This session will put the rights, voices and choices of youth at the center of the conversation around SRHR and UHC, focusing on the importance of ensuring that public health policies and programs account for the diverse SRHR needs of young people.

Town Hall: Youth engagement and entrepreneurship

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

The African continent has the youngest population in the world – and it is rapidly growing. In 2015, African youth (aged 15-24) accounted for 226 million people; by 2055, this number is expected to more than double. Africa’s demographic dividend creates a unique opportunity to widely engage a new generation of citizens to participate in the continent’s development and growth. Youth-led programs that aim to engage and equip young persons with the relevant skills to influence policies and institutions are critical to harness this opportunity – and to foster environments in which African youth are given a chance to thrive and meaningfully contribute to their communities.

This Town Hall will be an informal, moderated Q&A session featuring a renowned youth leader and entrepreneur. The moderator will take questions from conference participants, submitted through the virtual platform’s interactive chat. The AHAIC Town Hall series is intended to give participants the opportunity to engage with a high-level speaker on their career, professional journey, and areas of expertise and interest.

Town Hall: Women’s leadership in health

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

Despite their critical role in Africa’s health and development, women remain significantly underrepresented in leadership roles across the continent. While women make up 70% of the world’s health workforce, only 25% are represented in senior leadership positions. This session will adapt a gender lens to look at leadership in Africa and will examine how more women can claim seats at the decision-making table. The session will tackle gender inequality and create a platform for exchanges on strengthening women's leadership and igniting action across sectors to address discriminatory norms and practices.

This Town Hall will be an informal, moderated Q&A session featuring renowned female leaders in the health space. The moderator will take questions from conference participants, submitted through the virtual platform’s interactive chat. The AHAIC Town Hall series is intended to give participants the opportunity to engage with a high-level speaker on their career, professional journey, and areas of expertise and interest.

Parallel Sessions

Vaccine Research, Development and Manufacturing on the African Continent

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

The coordination and collaboration of diverse partners – including governments, academia, foundations, the private sector and more – to accelerate the development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in record time is a remarkable testament to modern scientific capabilities. However, as the international community continues to advance COVID-19 vaccine research, development, manufacturing, and distribution, the available vaccine supply currently falls far short of global demand.

WHO has noted that Africa is too often at the back of the queue for new technologies and public health interventions, including vaccines. Africa accounts for over 15% of the global population, yet less than 1% of the world’s vaccine production. In addition, even though the region still imports 70%-90% of pharmaceuticals used in Africa, local manufacturing is poised with untapped capacity that can be urgently prioritized in the face of COVID-19 related shortages. It is therefore imperative for the continent’s leadership to remain engaged and fully involved in the global research and development ecosystem.

Amid the global shortfall of COVID-19 vaccines, there is growing focus on opportunities to scale up vaccine production capacity in Africa. Strengthening vaccine research, development and manufacturing capacity on the continent will set countries up to meet demand for other vaccines, and to respond to future pandemics and health emergencies. This session will explore key topics around advancing vaccine R&D and manufacturing in Africa, from expanding capacity for clinical trials to developing the nascent manufacturing industry. Experts at the forefront of driving health innovation on the continent will share their perspectives on how to leverage COVID-19 to accelerate local vaccine R&D and production in Africa, challenges to achieving this and the risks of ignoring this opportunity.

Pandemic-proofing primary health care

Hosted by PATH

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the critical importance of resilient primary health care (PHC) systems—the world’s first and best defense against the spread of infectious disease. What have we learned from this pandemic? And how can the public health community strengthen PHC to guard against the next one? During this satellite session, public health leaders will discuss how communities, local governments, private sector, and public health organizations can help build people-centered, pandemic-proofed PHC systems for all.

5:20pm – 6:20pm EAT

High-level Roundtable

Main stage

COVID-19 Vaccines and Africa: Where do we stand in the race for vaccines?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine innovation pipeline has advanced at an unprecedented pace – from research and development, to approval, manufacturing and delivery. Despite this remarkable progress – and despite global calls for vaccine equity – access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa remains limited and presents a barrier to bringing the pandemic under control. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, has warned of a “catastrophic moral failure” as many wealthy countries are reserving enough doses to immunize their populations multiple times over, while low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) struggle to acquire COVID-19 vaccines.

COVAX (the global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, co-led by WHO, Gavi and CEPI) is currently on track to deliver at least 2 billion doses globally by the end of the year, and is expected to provide 600 million doses for about 20% of populations in African countries. In addition, the African Union’s vaccine acquisition task force has secured 270 million COVID-19 vaccines for African countries. While these initiatives are critical to expediting vaccine equity and access in Africa, they do not present long-term solutions to solve the access gap.  

COVID-19 vaccines must be available to everyone, everywhere – not only those who can afford to pay. This high-level panel discussion will highlight the latest developments around access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, including the role of COVAX and the leadership of the African Union, alongside key partners such as WHO, Gavi and CEPI. Featuring African and global health leaders, the panel will address challenges around the availability, affordability and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa, as well as the need for greater collaboration and scale-up of innovations to close the access gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

5:20pm – 6:20pm EAT

Guided Networking Session

Networking Platform (Will run concurrently with High-Level Roundtable)

Guided networking sessions will provide a platform for participants to connect and engage around specific issues/topics. Advance registration is required.

6:20pm EAT

Close of Day 2

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

2:00pm – 2:10pm EAT

Introduction to Day 3

Main stage

2:10pm – 3:10pm EAT

Plenary 3: Our Health, Our Rights: UHC and Accountability for All

Main Stage

In September 2019, only several months before COVID-19 swept across the world, leaders committed to achieve UHC in a key declaration that underscored the right to health for all. Today, with millions of people affected by the pandemic, the need to ensure the health and rights of all individuals has never been more urgent. If we are truly to achieve Health for All, we must hold leaders accountable to their commitments. This session will focus on the need for stronger accountability to drive tangible progress when it comes to delivering the right to health for all. This plenary will hold countries accountable to their UHC promises and ensure that programs are designed to be both effective and financially sustainable; highlight countries who have made strong commitments to UHC and followed through; and discuss the existing health laws in place that are legally backing UHC and the level of awareness, or lack thereof, that populations have around these laws.

3:10pm – 3:15pm EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

3:15pm – 4:15pm EAT

Parallel Sessions


5-6 parallel sessions will run concurrently and will tackle a range of health issues. Sessions include:

Youth Leadership in Global Health

Hosted by Transform Health

Africa is currently the youngest continent. It is estimated that Africa’s population will grow to over 2.2 billion by 2050 (from around 1.2 billion in 2015). In order to satisfy the healthcare needs of this growing population and harness the demographic dividend, African governments, working with the private sector and civil society, will have to make use of digital technology and data to transform health systems to achieve Universal Health Coverage.  Across the continent, young people are driving innovation in digital health and advocating for greater youth leadership and engagement in shaping health policies and services. Greater commitment and investments in young people’s engagement, capacity building and advocacy are essential to harness the potential of more African youth to drive equitable progress towards health and development goals.  This session will focus on the importance of leveraging the knowledge and dynamism of African youth to shape health policies and programmes in a digital, post-COVID world; highlighting the role of platforms like Transform Health and Young Experts: Tech 4 Health in supporting youth to influence the digital health agenda; and how to mobilise greater investment in youth and opportunities for them to shape digital transformation in health, so that countries across the continent can achieve UHC by 2030.

Multi-sectoral collaboration in nutrition programs in Africa and relevance to primary health care and Universal Health Coverage

Hosted by Nutrition International

This session will showcase two projects that adopted innovative multisectoral approaches in implementation of nutrition strategies that improved the primary health care and UHC in Africa. The speakers will discuss the best practices and lessons learnt from these projects implemented at sub-national level in Ethiopia and Senegal. The impact and experiences from the interventions and their replicability and scalability will be critical in ensuring their adaptation and attainment of primary health care and Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Nutrition International and partners will present the case studies to demonstrate the importance of partnerships with governments, donors and other development stakeholders in delivering nutrition services to those who need them, especially women and children. The session will discuss two nutrition initiatives: Integrated Nutrition Project for the Kolda and Kédougou Regions (PINKK) in Senegal and Technical Assistance for Nutrition (TAN) to Seqota Declaration in Ethiopia. The session will aim to answer the following questions:

  • How can multi-sectoral approach in nutrition programs help communities to receive essential PHC services and contribute to UHC?
  • What is the role of technical assistance in supporting governments to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate multi-sectoral programs?
  • What is the role of governments and donors in scaling up key nutrition interventions in the context of UHC and the COVID-19 response?

Partnership for Primary care: Transforming the delivery of public primary healthcare

Hosted by Amref Netherlands

According to the World Health Organization, strengthening primary care is the most efficient, fair, and cost-effective way to achieve health impacts. In addition, in line with the WHO, Kenya Vision 2030, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta identified universal health coverage as one of his “Big Four” objectives.

The Partnership for Primary Care (P4PC) is the first public-private partnership (PPP) model for primary care in Africa. By leveraging complementary capabilities and by sharing risks and responsibilities, Amref Health Africa, the government of Makueni County, Kenya, and Philips aim to transform the primary healthcare system in a financially sustainable manner. The approach is holistic and systemic and targets both the demand side and the supply side of primary care. Moreover, a sustainable financing system and strong system management are established. Together these crucial levers generate a self-reinforcing loop, whereby improved quality leads to increased demand, which in turn leads to increased financing, again increasing quality. This session will provide insights in the results of the feasibility study, how partners plan to bring the model to scale, and how the aimed PPP is structured.

Effective Communication to Combat Health Misinformation

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

With the rapid growth of mobile technology use in Africa, as well as the rise of social media, information can spread faster than ever before. While there have been many benefits to increased mobile access and digital communication, there are also downfalls. For example, in our increasingly interconnected world, the COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by misinformation and rumours about the disease – including its origin, transmission, prevention, symptoms and spread. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 misinformation has quickly moved through communities in Africa and around the world. This session will discuss the need to combat health scepticism and misinformation with compelling, evidence-based information; highlight challenges as well as effective strategies to address misinformation; and reinforce the importance of targeted communications to raise awareness on key health issues.

Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

The global spread of COVID-19 has been accompanied by the proliferation of misinformation about the virus. In February 2020, WHO warned about the emerging ‘infodemic’: “an over-abundance of information – some accurate and some not – that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” Some of the widely shared misinformation around COVID-19 includes conspiracy theories and myths about unproven treatments, false cures and anti-vaccine messages. During health emergencies, such misinformation undermines efforts to end the epidemic and threatens the safety of emergency responders. Anti-vaccine messages often disproportionately affect vulnerable or marginalized communities, and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy risks impacting the acceptance and uptake of these vaccines. Governments, public health officials, civil society, the private sector and all partners must be prepared to address vaccine hesitancy, including country- and context-specific concerns or misconceptions. This panel discussion will highlight efforts across Africa to counter vaccine hesitancy and encourage uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, including community engagement strategies and experiences, as well as the importance of building trust in vaccines and immunization beyond COVID-19. 

Tackling Cancer Through Sustainable Health Care Systems

Hosted by MSD

Cancer is one of the fastest expanding deadly diseases in Africa. It already affects hundreds of thousands of individuals, and unless governments come together to act soon, millions more will pay the price. The most striking fact about the burden of cancer is that interventions to prevent and treat many cancer types already exist. Turning the tide on cancer requires the same urgency and collaboration that we need to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The integration of cancer into health systems as part of UHC help us achieve a reduction of premature mortality for cancer and transform the lives of millions of people. While some progress has been made with nearly 50% of the countries in the region having a National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP), much work still need to be done to understand the impact of these NCCP in meeting population needs and how the gaps need to be integrated into health systems development post COVID-19.

4:15pm – 4:20pm EAT

Break / Creative Interlude

Creative interludes will allow for pressing health issues to be explored in a unique and compelling manner and will bring a human touch to the virtual event. Interludes will include artistic performances such as music and spoken word poetry, videos and audience engagement polls.

4:20pm – 5:20pm EAT

Parallel Sessions


5-6 parallel sessions will run concurrently and will tackle a range of health issues. Sessions include

Rare diseases – the case for inclusion in the dialogue for Africa’s advancement towards UHC

Hosted by Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Takeda believes access to healthcare, medicines and vaccines should be universal. However, across the world, many people lack access to the services and treatment they need. Complex and rare diseases are hard to diagnose, treat and manage. These conditions present significant challenges in terms of the levels of capacity, and resources needed to prevent, educate and raise awareness, and the specialized clinical skills needed to screen, diagnose and treat patients. Complex and rare diseases often have greater affordability barriers. They may require highly innovative medicines, often without alternatives, and the treatment can be lifelong. Increasing access to innovative medicines for complex and rare diseases is challenging and needs collective action. It must be approached in a sustainable and targeted way, to strengthen and transform healthcare systems, at every stage of the patient journey - from awareness and diagnosis, to treatment and ongoing patient support. This session will discuss complex and rare diseases, and make the case for their inclusion in Africa’s UHC agenda.

From Attention to Action on Health Systems: Driving Accountability for PHC in the Wake of COVID-19

Hosted by PHCPI

The COVID-19 pandemic has shed unprecedented light on the need for health policy making and systems that effectively address the needs of those most impacted. Securing investment in primary health care (PHC), which meets the majority of people’s health needs at every age and every stage of life, must be central to these efforts. In the context of COVID-19 vaccine rollout and pandemic recovery, this session will explore ways in-country advocates can effectively leverage global attention on health care delivery to hold governments accountable for high-quality primary health care systems. Speakers will discuss how to use data and measurement for advocacy, share strategies for engaging with global and national decision-making bodies and spotlight successful communications tactics to catalyse critical investment in PHC during and after the pandemic.

Legacies in Global Health

Hosted by Amref Health Africa

Many African countries remain heavily reliant on foreign aid, with donor funds making up a significant share of total health expenditures. SDG 17 aims to enhance North-South and South-South cooperation and foster relationships that are fair and beneficial to all. Yet, many major decisions specific to Africa’s health agenda – including access to and allocation of the COVID-19 vaccines – continue to be made in the Global North, while those affected by these decisions are often not even at the table. This is one of the many challenges to be explored during this session, as well as the implications of unidirectional patterns of funding, people and knowledge when it comes to Africa’s health systems. African countries must have a seat at the table in prioritizing and shaping the health agenda, and funding decisions for Africa must be driven from the global south. This session, hosted by Amref Health Africa, will examine legacies in global health decision-making, funding, design and delivery; discuss how global health institutions can reorient their work to be more accountable to the people they serve; and promote local processes, decision-making and learning (both North-South and South-South).

Health R&D for enhanced pandemic resilience, elimination of PRNDS, and attainment of UHC in Africa

Hosted by Amref Health Africa in Kenya – Host for the Coalition for Health Research and Development (CHReaD) Project

The Coalition for Health Research and Development (CHReaD) is a conglomerate of NGOs that seeks to advocate for an enabling policy environment to facilitate research, innovation, and access to high-impact products and technologies in Kenya.  CHReaD has been instrumental in amalgamating efforts of local and international non-governmental organizations, and research institutions to create awareness on the importance of increased investments and creation of worthwhile regulations that support Research and Development (R&D) efforts towards achieving universal health coverage (UHC). Through this session, the Coalition will discuss how Health Research and Development investments are crucial in eliminating Poverty Related and Neglected Diseases (PRNDs) and why this is important in achieving UHC. The session will also present evidence from a CHReaD-commissioned study on the fiscal space for health R&D and explore practical interventions that Africa ought to prioritize in order to enhance health R&D and attain UHC.

Role of WASH in fostering women’s economic empowerment and improving sexual and reproductive health

Hosted by Amref Tanzania

Solid waste and sewage sludge management are the most serious environmental issues confronting urban areas in Tanzania. Tanzania’s WASH program, through waste management social enterprise, has demonstrated success through provison of pro-poor technologies and approaches that improve access to sanitation in urban areas, while  creating and facilitating social businesses on solid and human waste sludge services. These approaches aim at unlocking the potentials of women and vulnerable youth groups through transformative end-of-life waste and fecal sludge management. Solid waste conversion into charcoal, for instance, has accelerated household solid waste separation and removal by 80% and increased monthly revenue collection by 150% among women entrepreneur groups.

Furthermore, in Tanzania, most rural areas suffer an acute shortage of essential WASH services such as clean water supply, proper sanitation facilities and sewage management. This affects women and girls who are mainly responsible for fetching water over long distances, and are therefore exposed to various forms of sexual assault, e.g., rape, forced early marriages and other forms of gender-based violence. This session will examine various country programs that support the provision of WASH services, which have catalyzed improvements in social and economic wellbeing as well as sexual and reproductive health among women and girls.

Why An Africa Medicines Agency, Why Now?

Hosted by IFPMA

Two years after the treaty agreed to establish an African Medicines Agency, over 40 leading organizations called Heads of State and Government to ratify the Treaty as a matter of priority. Although there has been political support, legal commitment from more countries remains to be secured for the continent-wide regulatory agency to become a reality. The Treaty has so far been signed by 19 countries, but only 8 out of the necessary 15 have ratified it.

Following the multi-stakeholder Call to AU Heads of State to Ratify the AMA Treaty, the panel will seek to bring its content to the attention of African health organizations having a stake in its implementation and explain its importance in the journey towards universal health coverage.

The session will bring patients, industry, product development partnerships and other public and private health stakeholders around the table to explain why AMA is key to optimising sustainability in the supply of medicinal and healthcare products for diseases disproportionately affecting Africa.

 5:20pm – 6:20pm EAT
Closing Session & Awards Ceremony

Main stage

Awards ceremony

Presented by Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO, Amref Health Africa  

Awards will be presented for the following categories:

  1. Global Health Leadership
  2. Africa Health Leadership on COVID-19
  3. Journalism: COVID-19 coverage

Key outcomes of conference and AHAIC 2021 resolutions

Closing remarks

6:20pm EAT

End of Conference

(Open networking platform until 7:00pm EAT)

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely nothing. The conference is FREE.
Yes, you will be provided login credentials to test the system and get familiar with the interface.
Your login details will be emailed to you ahead of the event. You can use these details to access the conference.
This is an online (virtual) conference. You don’t have to travel to any specific location. You can participate from anywhere that you have internet access. The event is accessible from desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
Yes, once you register for the conference, we will send a link with the sessions and you can RSVP sessions you are keen on attending.
Yes. Like any physical event, you will be able to carry resources like reports, research findings media releases among others that will be downloadable and will also be shared via email.
The on- demand content will be hosted for 90 days following the event.
Send an email to for any technical assistance.
We recommend the use of Google Chrome browser.
Good internet connectivity will ensure high quality video streaming.
Absolutely. We are counting on you to invite others! Help us spread the word. You can simply share the link to this page, and they can register at their convenience.