African heads of state and government must not revise or further delay implementation of AU Abuja April 2001 15% health commitment says Archbishop Desmond Tutu & 15% Now Campaign. One hundred and forty-one African and global organisations and networks call on African leaders and finance ministers to restate 15% commitment at next AU Summit in Egypt. The loss of over 8 million African lives annually to preventable, treatable or manageable health conditions is equal to 43 transatlantic jets with 500 passengers each crashing every single day. On the 7th anniversary of the pledge by African Union member states to allocate 15% of national budgets to health, Nobel Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Africa Public Health Alliance 15% Now Campaign of which he is Honorary Chair have urged African Heads of State and Government not to in any way revise, drop or further delay implementing the Abuja April 2001 commitment. In a communiqué from its recent Abuja conference released today and supported by 141 African and global organisations and networks, the 15% Now Campaign also made a seven-point call on African Heads of State and Ministers of Finance. In a statement to mark the anniversary of the 15% pledge Archbishop Tutu stated: "The AU Abuja 15% pledge is one of the most important commitments African leaders have made to health development and financing, and our Heads of State should strive to meet this pledge without further delay. The continued loss of millions of African lives annually which can be prevented is unacceptable and unsustainable. Our leaders know what they have to do. They have already pledged to do it. All they have to do now is actually do it. This is all we ask of them." The Nobel Prize Winner underlined that: "While global health is a global responsibility, African leaders also have a moral responsibility to our people. Just as we expect the international community to honour their commitments to global health, we also expect African leaders to honour African commitments." Coordinator of the 15% Now Campaign Rotimi Sankore added that: "It is a tragedy that we have to remind African leaders of their own commitment to invest public funds in public health at a time when we are loosing over 8 million lives a year to preventable, treatable or manageable health conditions. This is the equivalent of 21,917 lives lost daily or the equivalent of 43 transatlantic jets with 500 passengers each crashing every single day.” “While we appreciate the concerns of some of our Finance Ministers that there are many issues requiring their attention. Africa's most important resource is its human capital and sustainable social and economic development is impossible with average African healthy life expectancy falling to less than 40 years. The more we postpone public health investment, the more it will cost us in the future. For instance, the cost to Africa of not treating TB between 2006 and 2015 would be $519bn while TB can be controlled with $20bn in the same period." He emphasised that: "Nothing can or should compete with public health. Dead people don’t eat, dead people don’t need education, they don’t live in houses and do not require transport or electricity. Africans must first be alive and healthy to enjoy any other rights. The African Union Commission has delivered on the Africa Health Strategy and other health policy frameworks and its up to our Finance Ministers to fund their implementation." The 15% Campaign Coordinator stressed that: "Poor reproductive and sexual health is at the core of Africa's high disease burden. HIV is primarily a sexual and reproductive health issue, and costs Africa 1.6 million lives annually. Poor reproductive health systems also impact greatly on infant and child health leading to 4.8 million child deaths a year, and over half of non disease maternal deaths globally are in Africa. Considering that TB is now the biggest killer of HIV positive persons, and malaria now has an increasing impact on maternal and child mortality, it is clear that without massive investment to rebuild our public health systems Africa may die out slowly and painfully." "Training and retention of African health workers is particularly crucial. Medicines as important as they are.” In the Communiqué from its recent conference, the 15% Now Campaign called on "Fellow members of African Civil Society, the health and medical community, other sectors of society and global partners to join us in building the biggest continental, sub-regional, national and community based movement possible for ensuring that health development, financing and budgeting on a needs based basis and the 15% commitment is implemented as Africa’s top social and economic development priority."