African Patients Congress

About APC 2021

The 1st Virtual African Patients Congress: ‘Co-creating Better Healthcare Systems’ (APC2021) to be held on 20 -21 July 2021, is a patient led regional convening bringing together IAPO's African membership with a variety of high-level healthcare stakeholders to share their vision and experience on how we can build back better African health systems after the pandemic. 

Through a range of interactive capacity building and knowledge-sharing sessions, delegates will develop the tools to ensure that, the patient movement across the region is made up of strong patient advocates. The goal will be to prepare ourselves, as patient advocates, to take on the challenges and opportunities that have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as well from increasing regulatory harmonisation across Africa with the set-up of the African Medicines Agency.


       Read the APC 2021 Report  APC 2021 Programme           

APC 2021 Theme: Co-creating Better Healthcare Systems

The COVID-19 pandemic’s true impact upon the African Union Member States cannot be assessed accurately. Public health surveillance systems and health informatics in Africa were not prepared for the pandemic. The African Union Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has hinted that global health regulatory and policy making bodies do not have timely, relevant, and accurate data from the State authorities across the continent.

The main issue now facing all of Africa is how can countries ensure timely access to COVID-19 vaccines as well as successful vaccination programmes. Many African countries do not have the logistic capability and the financial ability to secure enough vaccine dosages for their populations. COVAX vaccines pillar of the ACT-Accelerator, convened by CEPI, GAVI and WHO, has stepped in but may encounter health systems that do not have enough function facilities, cold-chain arrangements, trained health professionals, and the concomitant injections needed.

Creating an enabling environment for patient engagement

African civil society engagement in national policy and decision-making has a chequered history. However, the pandemic has created a perfect condition for the African Union and its Members States to be introspective about health in all policies and about civil society engagement in health. Patients as main stakeholders of their health systems must advocate that the State create an enabling environment for them to co-create better healthcare systems that are patient centred, pandemic prepared and on target to achieve UHC 2030.

Holding our 1st African Patients Congress bringing together African patients, regulators, policy makers and other stakeholders in national unity and African solidarity will give us an opportunity to reflect upon how we can all build back better our African health systems and work towards UHC 2030 and health for all.  It will also be a moment for patients to engage in focused discussion on health systems strengthening and preparedness through patient led and co-created innovative solutions.


Aims of APC 2021 

Gather Africa’s health innovators: The Congress aims to bring together expert patients, regulators, policy makers and other stakeholders across Africa to reflect upon how we can build back better and co-create innovative solutions for our health systems and work towards UHC 2030 and health for all.

Restore disrupted healthcare services: Fragile health systems have been overwhelmed by COVID -19 and many healthcare services have been disrupted. APC 2021 will share patient experience and recommend strategies to restore the essential health care services, especially those in non-communicable disease, by applying innovative patient co-created solutions.

Ratify African Medicines Agency Treaty:  Since 2017, IAPO’s call for the ratification the African Medicines Agency Treaty has remained unanswered. The APC 2021 wants to ensure that the treaty is ratified, and the future AMA becomes more patient centric by incorporating patient engagement and co-creation in its regulatory framework through law, policy, practice, and standards. Like our Congresses in Europe, we will invite the African Union (AU), African Medicines Agency (AMA) and African Centre for Disease Control (ACDC) to join our APC2021.

Call for Vaccine Equity COVID 19 Vaccination. No one is safe unless everyone is safe. It is important Africa gets all the COVID -19 Vaccines it needs. The APC 2021 will push this message home.

Advance current COVID -19 treatment and services. Can Covid-19 vaccines keep up with an evolving virus? What if the mutations and variants overwhelm us? Can we at least prevent the hospitalisation and the high mortality rates through other medicines? APC 2021 will reflect on WHO Solidarity Trials and repurposed drugs initiatives highlighting how patients can engage with it.

Advocate for the Pandemic Preparedness Treaty. Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa are promoters of a new Pandemic Preparedness Treaty. They have joined 21 other countries around the world and calling for this new treaty. The APC 2021 will reflect on the pressing need for patient engagement and co-creation in this new African pandemic preparedness framework.

Why should you attend APC 2021?

During the event, participants can expect to:

Learn about the latest advances, challenges, facts, figures and trends in the community with regards to co-creating innovative healthcare that is designed, organised, and practised with the patient at the centre.

Shape the future of patients’ co-creating innovative healthcare alongside policy-makers, healthcare industry representatives, clinicians, payers, regulators and Member State representatives.

Be part of the COVID-19 response. Holding our 1st African Patients’ Congress in the middle of a pandemic will give our African patient community a strategic opportunity to share our patient experiences and patient perspectives with our healthcare policy makers through a global platform. It will be a door for us to join the whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort to control the pandemic and rebuild our health systems as a whole-of-patient community.


Past African Meetings

3rd African Regional Meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda on 4th - 5th July 2017. The meeting culminated in delegates making a united call for     a patient-centred African Medicines Agency (AMA), in which patients are meaningfully engaged.

2nd African Regional Network Meeting held in Johannesburg, South Africa in April 2011. A key outcome of the event was the realisation of the common aims and challenges of IAPO Members and the development of an IAPO African Regional Network Action Plan 2011-2012 in which members identified their priorities for the work of the regional network. 

1st African Regional Network Meeting held in Kampala, Uganda on 3rd November 2008. This meeting was IAPO’s first regional event and was a great opportunity for all involved. A key outcome of the day was that the patient groups made a strong call for African governments and all stakeholders in healthcare to: Work together to provide patient-centred healthcare for all patients in Africa, and Involve patients and patient representatives as equal partners in healthcare decision-making to strengthen healthcare systems in Africa.