Beyond COVID-19: Pathways to Resilient Health Systems in Africa
This event was a part of the 2021 U.S.-Africa Business Summit.
Building blocks for pathways to resilient health systems in Africa include:
Lesson from preparation and addressing the pandemic including a one-health multisectoral approach in addressing current and future pandemics. WHO and other partners have continued to play a critical role in building the capacity of African countries to cope with an overstretched health system during the pandemic.
Having resilient and networked systems involves building collaborations with both public, private, and NGOs in ensuring that all gaps in the health system are addressed. Various panel presenters provided examples of ensuring continued success in other disease management (access accelerated in getting meds for NCDs – hypertension and diabetes, etc.) while addressing the pandemic. Partnerships are essential in the ramping of testing capacities as well as registration of drugs including vaccines
In building resilience it is important to invest in sustainable approaches that bring services close to the patients. These include strong primary healthcare (PHC) as the foundation for strengthening health systems, including the integration of services with a multi-disciplinary team.
Innovation around financing exists through partnerships between the US and Africa that are advancing resilient health systems and specifically supply chains beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic. The US DFC continues to offer various tools including loan guarantee programs, debt financing, and political risk insurance in advancing various health initiatives including most recently with Aspen South Africa for the local manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines. Looking forward there are opportunities for impact investing in health in Africa by deploying financial resources that can have financial returns / commercial opportunities while improving health outcomes.
The Importance of the Pfizer/ Biovac Africa partnership in considering local manufacturing;
- Very important to build the continent and ensure the availability of robust resources including manufacturing capacity
- Need for regulatory harmonization to ensure that the commercial aspects are more sustainable
- Ensure long term perspectives in investments that include local capacity building through training and skills transfer
- Invest in a local production of consumables, last-mile delivery including the how on distribution and who administers vaccines.
- Advance R&D in Africa
- Harnessing digital transformation on how to strengthen the systems long term