AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa and partners have circulated a guide to seeking greater value for money in the health sector in Africa.
The collaborating partners are part of the Harmonization for Health in Africa Initiative which coordinates their support to governments in Africa to improve people’s health.
The partners provide support in the areas of Health Financing, Human Resources for Health, Pharmaceuticals and Supply Chains, Governance and Service Delivery along with Infrastructure and ICT.
The practical guide will support health policymakers to further develop, adopt and sustain innovative solutions to maximize the benefits of investments in health while attracting more funding for the sector in Africa.
It presents the most common policy initiatives that focus on value for money and emphasizes those that have the greatest likelihood of success.
In addition, the guide will enable countries to utilize their resources better by doing away with inefficiencies resulting from weaknesses in evidence-based policymaking to insufficient high-impact investments.
AfDB is a unit of African Development Bank Group, Africa’s premier development finance institution, that contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
African Development Bank Group comprises of three distinct entities inclusive of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) with an external office in Japan.
“The guide acts as an accompaniment to the Bank’s Strategy for Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa 2021-2030 which seeks to boost access to health services across the continent,” AfDB press statement revealed.
The strategy focuses on three categories which entails primary healthcare infrastructure for underserved populations, developing secondary and tertiary healthcare facilities alongside specialist facilities as well as building diagnostic infrastructure.
It also responds to the growing demand from regional member countries for the Bank’s support in overcoming gaps in national health infrastructure exposed by COVID-19 and other health crises.
COVID-19 has highlighted the need for greater health investment as the crisis has left African countries with severely constrained resources and rising indebtedness.
Consequently, huge ambition in global public health is increasingly competing against limited resources.
Africa finds itself faced with two extremes: great expectations for the future and very little financing for the health sector to count on.
“The African health sector remains underfunded since governments currently invest US$4.5 billion in public health capital expenditure versus the estimated US$26 billion of annual investment needed to meet evolving health needs over the next decade,” the statement further outlined.
Government health expenditures also represent only 1.9% of Gross Domestic Product in Sub-Saharan Africa which is far below the target of 5% suggested by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
However, the Bank can offer mixed infrastructure investments that connects health facilities to energy, water and ICT connections to enable better quality and more innovative health service delivery.
To enhance value for money in the health sector, the Bank will support its regional member countries through a combination of technical support, knowledge work and policy dialogue.
The Bank also aims to increase its investments in health infrastructure using investment projects, results-based financing, debt and equity investments in private companies and promotion of innovative sources of finance.
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