High-level dialogue on strengthening public health security in Africa calls for huge private sector investments in health

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High-level dialogue on strengthening public health security in Africa calls for huge private sector investments in health
West African Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Public Health Security in Africa
07/11/2016
“Nothing could be more important,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Monday, as he addressed a high-level dialogue on strengthening public health security in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Health is wealth.”

“Our meeting today is crucial, for building resilient health systems to ensure that Africa can deal effectively with public health emergencies and support its economic transformation,” he told the West African Ministerial Dialogue on Strengthening Public Health Security in Africa, hosted by the AfDB. “A healthy population will translate into increased productivity, and drive sustainable economic growth.”

The meeting focused on lessons learned from the Ebola crisis and the preparedness of African governments in an effective healthcare system capable of responding to emergencies.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa exposed the vulnerability of countries to public health emergencies. In particular, it demonstrated that many countries do not have robust health systems, and are lacking the core capacities to respond effectively to health security threats. In light of the increasing number of new threats since 2015, including a major urban yellow fever outbreak and spread of the Zika virus disease in Africa, the need to strengthen countries’ capacities to respond to such threats has never been greater. The Ebola outbreak not only posed a serious threat to public health security; it also greatly impacted the economic security of the countries affected.

The Abidjan meeting, which featured presentations on how the Ebola Virus Disease spread through communities in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, brought together Finance and Health Ministers from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire; Ambassadors accredited to Côte d’Ivoire; representatives of bilateral, regional and multilateral organizations; healthcare experts; and members of AfDB’s Board of Directors.

President Adesina highlighted the significant progress made by Africa over the last two decades in terms of health outcomes, underscoring that child mortality has declined in Sub-Saharan Africa by more than 50% between 1990 and 2015. Similarly, maternal mortality rates declined by 45% in the sub-region and by 59% in North Africa over the same period. However, he underscored that key challenges related to the high disease burden in Africa remain…

“In addition, Sub-Saharan Africa faces a deficit of skilled health workers. While the region accounts for 25% of the global disease burden, it represents only 4% of the global health workforce. Lack of access to safe, quality and affordable medicines remains a major challenge, worsened by weak regulatory systems and a preponderance of fake drugs.”…