NAIROBI, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Targeted investments in infrastructure, workforce and improved governance are key to transforming the heath sector in Africa, said the head of the Health and Education Investment Team at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Biju Mohandas.
Speaking at a continental forum held in Nairobi on Wednesday, Mohandas said robust public private partnerships (PPPs) are an imperative to help bridge financing gaps in Africa's health sector. "There are alternative financing models African countries should harness to boost healthcare financing. Adequate financing is key to unlocking the huge potential of the healthcare industry in the continent," said Mohandas. He revealed that the private sector arm of the World Bank has invested heavily in the health sector across Sub-Saharan Africa to revolutionize response to infectious and non communicable diseases. "We are encouraging Africa governments to pump resources in diagnostic equipment and capacity building for workforce to unleash a transformation in healthcare services," Mohandas said.
Majority of African countries are yet to honor the Abuja Declaration of 2001 that obliged them to allocate 15 percent of their annual budget to health. Likewise, countries have made uneven progress in budgetary allocation toward the fight against killer diseases like malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. Mohandas stressed that political goodwill, smart investments combined with policy reforms is key to re-inventing health sector in the Sub-Saharan Africa region that carries the bulk of global disease burden. "Visionary regulations and an improved ecosystem for healthcare financing have potential to transform a sector that has a direct bearing on Africa's growth and renewal," said Mohandas.
Under-investments in skilled personnel, technology and physical infrastructure has undermined the capacity of health care sector in Africa to respond to the disease burden. The Chairman of African Healthcare Federation, Amit Thakker said investments in new technologies and innovations will tackle geographical, infrastructural and personnel bottlenecks that deny African population access to quality health care. "By investing in human resources and efficient supply chains, it will be possible to establish a world class health care services in Africa," said Thakker. He noted that several African countries are close to achieving universal health coverage thanks to a robust government-industry linkage to tackle financing shortfalls.