Experts urge Africans to invest in healthcare
Dr Ebere Okereke, senior technical adviser at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in London and senior public health adviser to the director of the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC), made the call recently at the second International Conference on Public Health in Africa (CPHIA), held in Kigali, Rwanda, last week.
Healthcare is a basic human right, she said, adding that governments need to focus on prevention much more consistently to minimise the impacts of pandemics, as this will see their budgets used more efficiently.
“No matter how small our economies are, we have to look at what we are investing into health compared to other areas of our political priorities and rethink the proportions,” Okereke said.
She added: “We cannot have development in health without women shaping the agenda. We have to remember that women are not a single homogenous group but they are diverse in terms of physically ability, experience and areas of work, and that diversity is relevant and important for us to achieve the health goals which are in compass with the African Union [AU] agenda 2063 about the Africa we want”.
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While officially opening the conference, the prime minister of Rwanda, Dr Edouard Ngirente, called on stockholders to venture into Africa’s public health systems that are durable to infectious diseases and other emerging health threats.
“There is need to put health systems that do not only ensure widespread access to health services but also provide quality and efficient health services. It is very important to keep in mind the correlation between the health of our citizens and economic growth, as this will guide the decisions we make.”
The three-day conference was hosted by the Africa CDC and the AU, in partnership with the Rwandan ministry of health and Rwanda Biomedical Centre. It is aimed at building strategies for Africa’s sustainable universal health systems against infectious diseases and other health threats.