Fighting poverty-related diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis is a key focus of EU cooperation with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countriesalongside activities to make basic healthcare universally available.
Indicators of access to health reveal that the situation is particularly worrying in sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for 50 percent of all deaths among young children and almost half of the world’s maternal deaths. It is also the region hardest hit by HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Since non-communicable diseases place a burden on health systems throughout the region, progress is also required in other geographical regions of the ACP.
While the situation behind these figures is complex, countries’ inability to provide sufficient and equitable healthcare services due to a lack of financial and human resources is a major factor.
To turn this around, the EU has joined forces with international organisations and is participating in global initiatives in the field of public health.
The overall objectives of these activities are:
- To strengthen the capacity of health systems in ACP countries to deliver basic universally available healthcare.
- To address specific priorities in the region, including the implementation of international health regulations and conventions.
Health objectives are also a priority of the Africa-EU Partnership to reach the Millennium Development Goals. Concrete targets include:
- improved access to prevention, treatment, care and support services, including for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and sexual and reproductive health;
- progress towards universal access to affordable quality medicines, vaccines, contraceptives and commodities;
- increased national capacities in health strategy planning and budgeting;
- equal access to healthcare and rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities;
- increased production of medicines and vaccines in Africa;
- coordinated African and EU positions in the relevant international fora;
- increased risk-awareness about emerging diseases, medical emergencies and epidemics.
Programmes and projects
- Contribution to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria
- Increasing access to new and underused vaccines in GAVI-eligible ACP countries
The Commission and EU member states provide substantial financial support to the Global Fund, created to step up resources in the fight against these three poverty-related diseases.
Activities include the provision of critical health products and drugs; increasing access to health services; training of health workers and community-based programmes.
A cost-effective means of reducing child mortality and improving health, immunisation currently saves between 2 and 3 million lives per year. Through this project, the EU supports the GAVI Alliance in the procurement and delivery of vaccines against five major vaccine-preventable diseases in eligible ACP countries.