Africa Frontline First (AFF) is thrilled to announce that Angela Gichaga of the Financing Alliance for Health and Nan Chen of Last Mile Health have been named co-executive directors of AFF, effective immediately.
Launched in March 2022 under the championship of H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, AFF supports national governments to build robust community health infrastructure that can deliver effective, efficient, and equitable healthcare by catalyzing innovative financial solutions to expand the health workforce. Alongside Community Health Impact Coalition and Community Health Acceleration Partnership, Financing Alliance for Health and Last Mile Health are founding partners of AFF, which aims to professionalize 200,000 new community health workers across 10 African countries by 2030.
Angela Gichaga is the CEO of the Financing Alliance for Health, an organization committed to building resilient and sustainably financed primary and community health systems in partnership with Ministries of Health and Finance. She will retain her role at Financing Alliance for Health as she co-leads this new chapter for AFF. “I am thrilled to take on this new mantle with Nan as we seek to provide a platform to accelerate and transform primary healthcare systems at the community level,” Gigacha said. “This is an opportune and exciting time for us to work together collaboratively and advance key priorities of AFF so that everyone has equal access to quality healthcare and dignified job opportunities, especially for community health workers, particularly women and youth on the continent.”
Nan Chen was most recently the Managing Director of Health System Strengthening at Last Mile Health. In this role, he supported the organization’s global work to understand what works and why in community health program scale, and integrate those lessons across LMH’s four country programs and regional and global advocacy efforts. His work designing and launching AFF also informed Last Mile Heath’s new five-year strategy, which includes a commitment to work in coalition to influence how up to $2 billion in sustainable funding is invested across Africa. He will continue to serve on Last Mile Health’s Leadership Council in this new role.
“Last month, I was able to spend a day with Patrick Malachi, a community health worker in Kenya. As we visited households, it was clear that beyond the clinical knowledge and training, Patrick’s strongest asset was the trust his community had in him. That’s irreplaceable. When I asked him and his colleagues what could help them in their work, I got the same response that I’ve heard for nearly a decade in rural Liberia, in districts in Malawi, and in many other geographies: consistent payment, supportive supervision, adequate supplies, and recognition for their efforts,” said Chen. “The answer to universal health coverage is deeply intertwined with the dignified work of community health workers. I’m excited to do my part in connecting health equity and health justice.”
Since launching in March, AFF has made significant progress in mobilizing resources, notably through the AFF Catalytic Fund. Hosted by the Global Fund and supported by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation and the Skoll Foundation, the AFF Catalytic Fund aims to mobilize up to $100 million in community health investments by 2024, which includes a 1:1 matching fund from Global Fund grants. Funds will support 10 African countries, expanding access to care for up to 130 million people.
Over the coming months, AFF leadership will continue building the team needed to execute this ambitious work, support the Global Fund to develop implementation plans for the Catalytic Fund, and focus on engagement that aligns global financing with country-led priorities. This includes launching a high-level council of leaders; establishing formal relationships with regional norming bodies; engaging countries; and establishing pathways for community health worker input in program development.