The Status of Health Security in Africa
The state of Africa’s health security, threat response capacity and resilience
The Disease Burden in Africa
The African continent suffers from what seems like a never-ending burden of both fatal and non-fatal diseases. Over the years, Malaria, Diabetes, Hypertension, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs have caused approximately 4 million deaths a year and now COVID-19 has exposed a major health security problem in the continent.
Infectious diseases spread rapidly, are too expensive to manage and also slow down economies in affected countries. COVID-19 for instance, has disrupted various sectors and according to Deloitte, Africa’s projected GDP growth of 3.2% for 2020 is now expected to fall to -0.8%. The burden of managing existing communicable and non-communicable diseases in addition to the pandemic is extraordinarily challenging.
The situation is yet to get worse before it gets better and our recovery is dependent on our governments’ ability to build resilient healthcare systems that will help in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for everyone.
Enhancing supply chain efficiency will lead to successful implementation of UHC in Africa in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
Healthcare Access and Management
It is estimated that about 70% of the African population depends on government and donor-funded healthcare. Due to the continent’s state of poverty, most people find it more practical to use public health facilities yet their quality of healthcare services is not up to standard and essential medical products are not easily available.
Governments do not allocate enough financial resources to the health sector while donor funds are mismanaged causing major inefficiencies in the procurement of essential healthcare products. The health sector in Africa is known to be greatly underfunded resulting in regular shortages of essential healthcare supplies and increased disease-related mortality rates.
Enhancing supply chain efficiency will lead to successful implementation of UHC in Africa in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. This can be done through digitization of procurement processes for a faster and more transparent process that will eventually reduce costs of medical products.
As we strive to build resilience while dealing with the pandemic, it is important to collaborate and develop long term health financing strategies dedicated to reducing mortality through efficient healthcare supply chain systems.
Reimagining Health Security
Structural and systematic changes need to be made Now!
Reimagining Health Security is about the bold and fearless act of collaboration between governments, donors, financiers and all key stakeholders and establishments in the healthcare industry to solve the health security problem exposed by COVID-19.
This is to be implemented through resource mobilization to ensure that essential healthcare products are available for managing heath threats. It involves an increased focus on building a resilient healthcare supply chain system, increased financial investment into the healthcare system and a strong commitment to improving the state of health security in Africa.
The Africa Health Security Alliance
The Africa Health Security Alliance is a technology platform that brings together all the key stakeholders of Africa’s health sector and related value chains to form the largest network of responders, resource contributors and decision-makers whose actions will significantly improve the continent’s overall state of health security through enhanced disease burden preparedness, response capacity and collaboration.
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