The (summarised) case for increased private investment in Africa's healthcare
There is little argument for the need of a significant private capital injection into the healthcare systems of sub-Saharan Africa’s countries.
Donor support is waning, and at the same time, disease profiles of many African countries are evolving: even though HIV/AIDS still remains a threat, we appear to have turned the corner. Infection rates for countries with a high HIV proportion such as South Africa, Namibia and Botswana appear to have levelled out.
However, another dragon rears its head: that of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD’s) – cardiovascular diseases, asthma and COPD, diabetes and cancer. The WHO predicts that by 2030, NCD’s may well overtake infectious and parasitic diseases as the predominant healthcare issue in many African countries. Added to this is an unfortunate consequence of Africa’s development; better roads without adequate safety precautions have resulted in an exponential increase in Road Traffic Accidents (RTA’s) in the last decade or so.
Africa’s health systems and donor interest has long being on the former (infectious and parasitic diseases) to the detriment of the latter (NCD’s and RTA’s) and are mostly poorly equipped to handle this double-pronged dragon.
This ‘epidemic’ if not checked, threatens Africa’s recent astonishing economic growth.
This is because the middle class, who are largely responsible for Africa’s booming economies, are the ones most susceptible NCD’s and RTA’s.
They are also the ones who are willing and able to pay for quality healthcare if only it was widely available.
This is the argument for increased private investment in healthcare.
Let’s grab this opportunity with both hands.
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