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Statement: Africa Frontline First Launches High-Level Council, Chaired by H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

May 8, 2024

[May 8, 2024 at 3pm GMT] – Africa Frontline First is honored to announce the launch of its High-Level Council, composed of five influential leaders with a longstanding commitment to community health in Africa. 

Africa Frontline First is an Africa-led partnership from the Community Health Impact Coalition, the Financing Alliance for Health, and Last Mile Health, under the leadership of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Informed by decades of combined experience in community health, Africa Frontline First works to transform the way that community health worker programs are financed, with a goal of supporting 200,000 professional community health workers serving 100 million people by 2030.

The High-Level Council, chaired by H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will provide strategic advice, advocate for increased political will and resources for community health, and champion the  professionalization of community health workers globally. Bringing a wealth of expertise and experience, the founding council members will be instrumental in advancing Africa Frontline First’s mission and vision. The members include:

  • H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia
  • Ray Chambers, Ambassador for Global Strategy, World Health Organization
  • H.E. Dr. Jean Kaseya, Director General, Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Graça Machel, Deputy Chair, The Elders
  • Margaret Odera, Founder, CHW Champions Network 

Nan Chen and Angela Gichaga, Co-Executive Directors of Africa Frontline First, welcomed the launch of the council. “We are deeply grateful to the five founding members of our High-Level Council for sharing their time and expertise with Africa Frontline First. Our work is only as strong as our partners, and we are honored for the High-Level Council to advise and accompany us on the exciting work ahead.”

H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf added, “As Chair of Africa Frontline First’s High-Level Council, I am honored to join forces with these esteemed leaders and the Africa Frontline First team to champion the cause of community health in Africa. Two billion people do not have access to essential health services because they live too far from a health center. Community health workers are critical to bringing healthcare directly to patients and saving lives. Our collective efforts will pave the way for a healthier and more prosperous Africa.” 

The High-Level Council comes at a critical moment. Since its founding in 2022, Africa Frontline First has mobilized more than US $100 million in funding for community health. Now, the focus is to translate this momentum into tangible progress for the initiative’s three-part strategy, which includes mobilizing broad political support for community health; equipping governments to build programs ready to deliver quality health services at scale; and designing financing solutions. The High-Level Council is uniquely positioned to guide and advocate for this work alongside partners like the Africa CDC, African Union, and leading funders. 

Despite a growing global awareness of the power of community health workers in improving access to primary healthcare, a lack of financing means too many patients still go without access to this workforce and the lifesaving services they deliver: Africa faces a US $4.4 billion funding gap annually for community health. Africa Frontline First exists to close the funding gap, scale community health worker programs with governments, and reach more patients. Galvanized by the leadership of the High-Level Council, Africa Frontline First looks forward to accelerating this work in 2024. 

About Africa Frontline First:
Africa Frontline First is an Africa-led partnership from the Community Health Impact Coalition, the Financing Alliance for Health, and Last Mile Health, under the leadership of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Africa Frontline First works in partnership with governments, donors, implementing partners, and regional institutions to close the community health funding gap in Africa and reach 100 million people with essential care by 2030. For more information, visit www.africafrontlinefirst.org

For more information, contact:
Gustav Gyekye Appiah (Africa Frontline First Communications Manager)
gappiah@lastmilehealth.org 
www.africafrontlinefirst.org

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