Sweden and Clinton Health Access Initiative partner to invest US$34M to support universal health coverage in Africa

The government of Sweden and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) today announced a partnership to accelerate progress in Africa toward the goals of sexual and reproductive health and human rights and universal health coverage (UHC).

The new partnership will provide US$34 million to support CHAI’s technical assistance to governments across Africa to strengthen and finance resilient healthcare systems that in turn ensure equitable access to quality primary care and sexual and reproductive health services. This includes sharing learnings from focus countries in South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, Nigeria, Eswatini, and Uganda, as well as engagement with regional institutions and champions.

Håkan Juholt, Ambassador of Sweden, remarked, “Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a fundamental part of the social contract. Ensuring equitable distribution of resources and access to services is ultimately about social justice.”

Across Africa, governments are committed to this goal of addressing sexual and reproductive health needs, despite significant challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic fallout. The new technical assistance program will support governments to ensure that all people can access the lifesaving services they need, closer to where they live, without paying more than they can afford.

CHAI Country Director and Senior Global Director for Universal Health Coverage, Prof. Yogan Pillay stated, “Partnering with governments in the region will contribute to strengthening healthcare systems towards the achievement of universal health coverage. This new funding will help support primary healthcare and improve access to sexual and reproductive health services within a rights-based approach.”

Raphael Hurley, Senior Director, Health Financing at CHAI added, “We are incredibly appreciative of this support from the Swedish government, which equips CHAI to provide technical assistance to partner governments. Now more than ever, as Ministries of Health and Finance are facing the first recession in decades and competing needs, it is critical to protect the gains that have been made and demonstrate progress.”

The partnership will bring together governments, civil society, healthcare providers, and patients to swing back the scales of inequality in global health.

“The provision of sexual and reproductive health services such as contraceptive services, maternal and newborn care, and prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS through integrated primary healthcare, extending services into communities is absolutely critical to reaching those furthest left behind—this partnership will help do just that,” said Mikaela Hildebrand, Deputy Head of Sweden’s Africa team for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

The signing of this momentaneous initiative will be marked by a roundtable discussion of key stakeholders in Pretoria on June 20, 2022.


About the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria

The Embassy of Sweden in South Africa represents the Swedish government in the Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho.  The Embassy is also responsible for the cooperation with the regional organization SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) with its head office in Gaborone, Botswana.  The Embassy is responsible for Sweden’s foreign and trade policy promotion and diplomatic, cultural, commercial and trade exchanges between Sweden and South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Lesotho.

Partly to implement the Strategy for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Africa 2022-2026 and partly to contribute to a strengthened democracy work, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has a team based at the Embassy in Pretoria. Since bilateral development cooperation with South Africa was phased out in 2013, South Africa is part of Swedish development cooperation within the framework of a number of regional and global strategies.

About the Clinton Health Access Initiative

The Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI) is a global health organization committed to saving lives and reducing the burden of disease in low- and middle-income countries. We work with our partners to strengthen the capabilities of governments and the private sector to create and sustain high-quality health systems that can succeed without our assistance. https://www.clintonhealthaccess.org/

For media inquiries, please contact:

Rosanela Selebi, SIDA, Rosanela.Selebi@gov.se, +27 78 403 0325

Corina Milic, Senior Digital Manager, CHAI, cmilic@clintonhealthaccess.org