Africa – Why is Africa’s Healthcare so far Behind the Rest of the World?
As a continent, Africa won’t achieve most of its health-related Millennium Development Goals. Cash and access continue to be major impediments to healthcare in the region.
Despite Africa’s exponential economic growth and development over the past decade and additional support from the international donor community, progress has been slow.
As the region enters the last two years of the UN mandate for the Millennium Development Goals, time is running out for Africa to reach the finish line.
This article-blog is written from a far too familiar perspective: that of the beleaguered, overworked, underfunded international aid community.
But it is an important article for the private sector to understand.
The idea that “time is running out for Africa to reach the finish line” is fully representative of a new colonialism, something we’ve written about here (in the PHM Emerging Markets Healthcare Monitor) for many years. And this new colonialism is alive and flourishing.
The writer states “Cash and access continue to be major impediments to healthcare in the region.” We disagree.
The major impediments to healthcare in the region are rooted in the economic and political decisions made by generations of African leaders.
There is no interest in exploring the wrongs of the past. Nor is this an attempt to blame the victims. But today the reality is that many of the political leaders in Africa, and throughout the world, choose to underfund their country’s healthcare sector.
And far too often the international aid community (inadvertently?) supports these political decisions by flooding the region with cash and celebrity vanity.
We disagree with the presumption that “time is running out for Africa…” Fortunately, time IS running out for the MDGs.
Nigeria struggles to expand health insurance outside its urban, government elites. South Africa continues to debate the merits of universal cover. These two examples are resource rich, highly educated countries, yet they continue to express little urgency in growing their healthcare sectors.
Political influence is one of our Top 10 Global Healthcare Trends and we look forward to the investors and managers in Africa’s private healthcare sector starting to use the political influence they have.…………..HK
PS: Africa is not a region that should be singled out for this discussion. Pakistan and India are both nuclear armed countries and they; along with the rest of the subcontinent make appallingly short sighted investments in healthcare.