CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

November 07, 2005 08:30 ET

CIDA: Canada Invests $12 Million for Health in Africa

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) - The Honourable Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will invest $7 million over three years to expand a successful health program in Tanzania. In addition, CIDA will contribute $5 million to the World Health Organization to help address the crisis in human resources for health in Africa. The Minister made the announcement during the Canadian Society for International Health's 12th annual Canadian Conference on International Health.

"Canada is committed to doing more to support the efforts of developing country partners in Africa to ensure that initiatives to reduce the burden of disease are built on sustainable health systems," said Minister Carroll. "African health systems are not only unable to cope with all the people needing help, but health workers themselves are dying from preventable diseases."

Today's announcement is an initial contribution as part of a longer-term and broader strategy to support Africa's efforts to strengthen its health systems.

The Minister stressed the importance of the donor community coming together to stand behind African efforts to address the human resources gap. "Working together, what can we and our partners do to support the mobilization and retention of 100,000 additional trained and equipped frontline health care workers? This is the question I have put to my Agency," added Minister Carroll.

The new $7 million Tanzania Zonal Rollout of Essential Health Interventions project (ZoRo) builds upon the results of the Canada-funded Tanzania Essential Health Interventions Project (TEHIP) undertaken by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) which was operational from 1997-2004. ZoRo will extend to the rest of Tanzania the health intervention tools that were designed and tested in the two TEHIP districts. These tools have allowed the two districts to target their health resources on the largest contributors to the burden of disease and to improve the efficiency of on-the-ground health care delivery with a view to strengthening health systems overall. Building upon the results outlined in the attached backgrounder, ZoRo will expand coverage nationwide to all 113 health districts.

"We are delighted that CIDA is investing in strengthening health systems in Tanzania," says Maureen O'Neil, President of Canada's International Development Research Centre. TEHIP -- supported by IDRC and CIDA and undertaken by Tanzanian researchers -- has generated outstanding results, reducing the number of children dying in two districts by more than 40 per cent. It has helped put these districts well on track to meeting or even surpassing the MDG target for reducing child mortality. Thanks to this successful collaboration among Tanzania, IDRC and CIDA, Tanzania is better equipped to continue to strengthen its health system."

In addition to supporting the Zonal Rollout in Tanzania, CIDA is providing $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) over five years to help address the critical shortage in human resources for health. Currently, an estimated 750,000 health workers in Africa provide services for some 680 million people. The one million shortage of workers means that people living with HIV/AIDS and other diseases struggle to receive proper care and that many children do not even receive routine immunization. The threat of emerging diseases such as avian flu pose an even greater burden on overtaxed health systems in Africa.

"Through this generous support to the WHO, CIDA is demonstrating ground-breaking leadership," said Dr. Timothy Evans, Assistant Director-General of WHO. "Attention to and action on the primary constraint to improved health in poor countries - the health worker crisis - is no longer in question."

These contributions are part of CIDA's two-pronged Agenda for Action on Global Health, announced in September 2005. First, Canada is stepping up efforts to prevent and control diseases linked to poverty with a particular focus on reaching children and marginalized populations, and addressing gender inequalities and reproductive health. Second, Canada is working with developing-country partners to help reduce the burden of disease on health systems. Today's announcement reflects priorities outlined in Canada's International Policy Statement.

Funding for this initiative was provided for in the February 2005 federal budget, and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.



Canadian International Development Agency
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Backgrounder
---------------------------------------------------------------------

NOVEMBER 2005


CANADA'S SUPPORT FOR HEALTH PRIORITIES IN AFRICA

Canada increases support for the health sector in Africa

Canada's International Policy Statement, released in April 2005, called for a more strategic focus for development assistance. It identified health (including HIV/AIDS) as one of five sectoral priorities, and gave particular focus to strengthening the capacity of health systems.

In September 2005, the Hon. Aileen Carroll, Minister of International Cooperation, launched a two-pronged Agenda for Action on Global Health. First, Canada is stepping up efforts to prevent and control diseases linked to poverty with a particular focus on reaching children and marginalized populations, and addressing gender inequalities and reproductive health. Second, Canada is working with developing-country partners to help reduce the burden of disease on health systems.

On September 9, 2005, as part of this Agenda for Action, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced a $250 million contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The announcement brought Canada's total commitment to the Global Fund to over $550 million.

On November 7, 2005, CIDA announced it will invest $7 million for the new Zonal Rollout of Essential Health Interventions Project in Tanzania (formerly known as TEHIP) and $5 million to the World Health Organization (WHO) Action Plan to address the critical shortage in human resources for health in Africa.

The Tanzania Zonal Roll Out of Essential Health Interventions Project

In its recent budget, the Government of Tanzania allocated $US7 million over three years to expand the evidence-based approach to health management developed through TEHIP across the country. The estimated cost for this roll out of essential health interventions to the rest of the country is US$32 million. Canada has agreed to contribute CDN$ 7 million. The government of Tanzania continues to seek additional contributions from other donors active in the country. The expansion will include upgrading the Ministry of Health's six Zonal Training Centres, and setting up two new centres to service the 113 health districts throughout the country.

The WHO Action Plan on Health Human Resources

While Africa faces 25 per cent of the global disease burden, it has only 1.3 per cent of the world's health human resources. This is significant because research shows enhancing human resources for health can significantly improve health outcomes, especially with respect to maternal mortality. Without greater attention to strengthening health systems and human resources for health, African countries will be hard-pressed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The devastating impact of HIV/AIDS further heightens the impact of the human resources crisis on three fronts: it increases demand on services, which intensifies work loads; more health workers are contracting HIV/AIDS, which further depletes their numbers; and health workers are becoming terminal care providers rather than healers, which heightens stress.

The Joint Learning Initiative (JLI), on human resources for health, a comprehensive study commissioned by the High Level Forum on achieving the health-related MDGs, has concluded that developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, face critical shortages of appropriate and adequate health human resources. This shortage affects everyone from physicians and nurses to community-based front-line health workers. As such, it is the most significant challenge for countries to overcome to achieve health-related MDGs.

In response to the JLI study, the World Health Organization (WHO) developed an Action Plan for Human Resources for Health (HRH). The WHO and World Bank held consultations to fine-tune the Action Plan, ensuring it was pragmatic country owned and anchored in the realities of developing countries. A global alliance, known as the Global HRH Platform, will guide the implementation of the Action Plan; CIDA has been invited to be a member of the Platform. The five-year action plan will focus on country-level workforce strategies, health information systems, and regional networks, and operational research to measure results.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Andrew Graham
    Director of communications
    (819) 953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    (819) 953-6534
    info@acdi-cida.gc.ca
    http://www.cida.gc.ca (electronic version of document)