Africa has been making great strides towards achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals that ensure people receive quality affordable health care service. The 6th annual Tokyo International conference for African Development (TICAD VI) was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 27th & 28th August 2016. Japan co-hosted this historical meeting in Kenya, the first ever held in Africa. Thematic issues discussed included economic development, health and other sustainable solutions. The conference addressed issues involving Africa and its attainment of UHC goals through a 3 year plan that incorporates increased funding for health systems. African leaders were able to discuss reforms that would improve services as well as embrace better forms of financing. This will be done by increasing training, education and promoting the development of quality health services.
Kenya was a beneficiary of an agreement signed last year with Japan towards improving its health sector, with Ksh3.29billion being invested to achieve this. In Africa, Japan has been involved in the fight against diseases. For example, it’s collaboration with Merck and Co has seen the drug Avermectin freely distributed throughout the continent to help combat parasitic worms and over 300million lives are saved annually. Other efforts include assisting African countries to prepare appropriately for pandemics, public health crisis and also those that promote the acceleration of health system policies that work towards achieving this. This year, an additional donation of $1.1 billion has been provided as an assistance package to help promote health sector development. WHO Africa Region has since then implemented a new framework towards a malaria free continent. This framework was adopted by all 47 member states. Since the year 2000, there has been a sharp decline in Malaria related deaths by 68% translating to 6.2 million lives saved, majority being children. However, Africa still bears the highest disease burden globally with an estimate of 190million cases and 400,000 deaths annually. This accounts to 89% and 91% of total burden globally. Efforts to scale up key malaria interventions, distribution of treated nets, and adequate diagnosis in low resource setting areas are underway with funding being tripled to help achieve 2030 UHC goals. Fighting pandemics like HIV/AIDS, Malaria, TB, Ebola and Zika virus in the continent would require governments to start assessing the best way to finance health care to ensure it’s is not only scalable but sustainable in the long run. Lancet Commission on investing in health studies show that, when investment is done on UHC, the return rate was high in cases where better health contributed to economic growth.
The World Bank Business Report (2016) ranked Kenya as one of the top ten most improved countries in the world in terms of ease of business investment. The President of the World Bank group Dr. Jim Yong Kim stated that “with the right kind of investment, we can save the lives of millions of people, help people lift themselves out of extreme poverty and ensure that all people are healthier and live longer”. To aid this, the World Bank pledged $15 billion towards helping Africa work towards achieving UHC goals.
Healthcare consultant. She is passionate about Global health and efforts that embrace use of technological innovations to achieve Universal Health Coverage Goal