Inspired by the theme “Nothing for Us, Without Us”, AMREF Health Africa through its project
Y-ACT Youth In Action project has been engaging youth advocates for the past two years, with the aim of building the capacity of youth to undertake effective advocacy on policy and resource priorities focusing on Gender Equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
With over 60 per cent of Africa’s population being under 30 years of age, youth have untapped potential in becoming crucial advocates and partners in accelerating Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
Africa’s youth have a huge opportunity to shift the continent’s policy landscape be a pertinent stakeholder in meaningful conversations on UHC.
The need to solidify UHC commitments in any country in Africa lies within the ambits of youth who are Africa’s dividend and greatest wealth, according to Amref.
Amref Health Africa CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi said, the youth in Africa face a myriad of health challenges like substance abuse, human rights violation, changes in social economic status and therefore should take a leading role in health conversations.
“Africa is the world’s most youthful continent and health is increasingly being recognized as a priority to drive long term development in Africa. for this to work there needs to be nurturing and development of human capital and the answer to that lies in investing in the youth” said Dr. Githinji
Since the renewed political commitment by governments and stakeholders to accelerate equitable and sustainable progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC), African countries have embarked on meeting these targets by 2030 to leapfrog Africa’s health agenda.
Additionally, The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) agreed to hold the UN High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) on September 23, 2019 during the UNGA high-level week.
At a country level, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has augmented his commitment to secure a healthy and prosperous future for the youth by launching of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) pilot project in Kisumu County recently, that is expected to herald the transformation of the country’s health sector by eliminating inequalities in access to health care because of poverty and lack of medical insurance.
Building on these commitments, AMREF Health Africa is launching the first-ever #RoadFest Caravan on Universal Health Coverage in Africa.
The #RoadFest is a precursor event to the Africa Health Agency International Conference (AHAIC) 2019 Youth Conference taking place from March 3-4, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda where it is expected that over 300 young African leaders will gather to advance the inclusion of youth across all social and regional groups in tackling the greatest challenges of health towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Africa.
The specific focus of the Youth Conference is to rally the voice of young people, who despite their numerical power and creativity, are still lacking proper representation to influence decision making processes in the Africa Health Agenda.
The #RoadFest Caravan will traverse three East African countries through four major cities –Nairobi-Kisumu-Kampala-Kigali and will engage over 100 youth to collect the opinions of other 500 youth on UHC and share information on the progress made on UHC commitments in three countries different countries.
Three #fireactivationzones along the route will feature creative events to educate youth on UHC and collect their views that will be presented to over 1,500 delegates attending the main AHAIC Conference being held on March 5-8 2019.
The RoadFest will be culminated by the launch of a Pan-African UHC Youth Movement #Youth4UHC campaign, a project focused on ensuring that young people throughout the continent actively contribute towards the realization of the UHC Agenda in their respective countries, on the last day of the AHAIC 2019 Youth Pre-Conference.
Specific emphasis of the #RoadFest and the Youth Conference (#AHAICYouth2019) will be on: Empower! An opportunity for youth to gain a deeper understanding of UHC, Collaborate! Concerted action by bringing together ideas, experiences, and strategies will be a necessary step in establishing a successful pan-African UHC 2030 youth movement and Voice! This will be the first-ever #RoadFest on UHC that engages youth to push for one agenda.
The Flagging-Off ceremony of the #RoadFest Caravan was held on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 at the University of Nairobi Grounds.
Y-ACT Youth In Action project, an initiative of AMREF Health Africa and the Advocacy Accelerator that has been piloted in Kenya with the aim of building the capacity of youth to undertake effective advocacy on policy and resource priorities focusing on Gender Equality and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).
The program also intervenes by mapping youth advocates and organizations in the country and providing them with an online platform to connect and align their advocacy efforts, developing a curriculum for building capacity of youth advocates, providing sub-grants and mentorship to youth organizations and advocates in focus Counties.