THE International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa), being held in Harare this week, is more than just a convention.
It is a convergence of minds united by a common cause — to improve the health landscape of Africa.
At the core of this aspiration is the undeniable necessity of forging robust partnerships between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and governments.
Such alliances are not mere preferences; they are imperatives that could significantly amplify the impact of health initiatives across the continent.
Humana People to People embodies the essence of these collaborative ventures. With its wealth of experience, it has consistently demonstrated how NGOs can seamlessly dovetail with national health systems to not only buttress ongoing health efforts but also to steer them towards achieving and surpassing their stipulated health targets.
A vivid illustration of this symbiotic relationship is reflected in the health projects spearheaded by Humana People to People in collaboration with government entities here in Zimbabwe and across the Sadc region.
By aligning with national health agendas, Humana People to People was able to integrate its initiatives with existing health infrastructure at the community level, thereby creating a synergistic impact.
This joint effort has seen a remarkable improvement in the outreach of health services, especially in remote and underserved regions.
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One of the cornerstones of Humana People to People’s approach is its firm belief in community organisation and empowerment of individuals.
By working closely with government health departments, we ensure health interventions are culturally resonant and tailored to meet the unique needs of the communities.
This collaborative ethos extends to capacity building of local health workers, relevant community structures, and the private sector, thereby ensuring sustainability and fostering a sense of ownership among the community members.
Moreover, the collaborative framework facilitates a two-way learning corridor. Governments gain insights from the agile and innovative approaches of NGOs, while the NGOs benefit from the structured and scaled mechanisms of government systems.
This reciprocal exchange of knowledge and resources cultivates a fertile ground for holistic health solutions that are sustainable, scalable and impactful.
The narrative of collaboration extends beyond merely addressing the menace of HIV. It's about building resilient health systems capable of responding to a myriad of challenges, be it tuberculosis, malaria, or emerging health crises — including pandemic preparedness.
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of a united front in combating health adversities.
The Icasa summit is an opportune moment to rekindle our commitment to fostering stronger partnerships between NGOs and governments. It's a call to action to eschew siloed approaches and embrace a collective approach towards achieving the health targets set forth.
DAPP Zimbabwe is an active member of an HIV and tuberculosis cluster where NGOs, private sector and government meet quarterly to find local sustainable solutions, where experiences and lessons learned are shared.
It is here where collaboration plays a critical role in identifying gaps both in programming and funding. These forums recommend ways to proactively reallocate funds and adapt approaches to more effectively reach targets.
Such collaboration underpins the need for continuous partnerships in Africa. However, the journey does not end here. The health challenges that pervade the African continent demand a relentless pursuit of more collaborative strategies, innovative solution and a shared vision.
“United we stand, divided we fall,” rings true in our quest for a healthier Africa. It's high time we transcended boundaries and work together for the health of the millions who look up to us for hope. As we deliberate on the future of health in Africa at the Icasa summit, let’s reaffirm our resolve to unlock the full potential of partnerships. Together, we can usher in a new era of health and prosperity in Africa.
- Luckson Soda is Director at DAPP Zimbabwe, Human People to People