Africa is currently the world’s second-fastest growing region, with about one-third of the continent’s 54 nations are experiencing annual GDP growth of more than 6%. And this growth is occurring beyond the continent’s urban settings. In recent times, the attention of the world to the disturbing state of health in sub-Saharan Africa has increased dramatically. Funding to combat the major health problems has reached unprecedented levels, and remarkable improvements has been made.
Although the quality of health care in sub-Saharan Africa has improved in the past five years, progress is still substantially below the expectations of the people. This has resulted into citizens from the region becoming medical tourists in an effort to get better quality health care. The medical tourism industry in India has grown as much as 30 percent annually in the past five years, and Africans from Nigeria and Ethiopia make up a sizable number of the medical tourists to India.
To address this, we must focus on building better healthcare infrastructure in Africa. For example, Africa bears one-quarter of the global disease burden, yet has only 2% of the world’s doctors. This is unacceptable, and we need to take steps to address inadequate healthcare infrastructure now.
Factors to Consider in Improving Healthcare in SSA
Healthcare will be critical in helping the continent realize its potential as the next set of emerging markets, and focus needs to be on three areas:
- Technology: In the face of growing global health disparities, the important contribution of science and technology to improving health cannot be overlooked. The fight to improve global health needs, in addition to effective public health measures, requires rapid and efficient diagnostic tools; new vaccines and drugs, efficient delivery methods, and novel approaches to therapeutics. It has been observed that mobile phones have been particularly beneficial where infrastructure is limited in Africa. As mobile devices become increasingly common, they become an unexpected force in delivering better healthcare. It is at the convergence of health and technology that eHealth initiatives evolved, creating an unprecedented opportunity to improve access to services and innovations.Also, biotechnology has tremendous potential to address health and development issues in developing countries if we rise to the challenge
- Public-Private Partnership: In today’s world of complexity and rapid pace it is almost impossible to do anything alone. This has also been proven true in healthcare where constantly rising prices, changing disease patterns, and increasing use of sophisticated technology for diagnosis and treatment have made it virtually impossible to imagine any single organization providing services without some type of institutional partnership. Increased private sector investment in healthcare real estate would help to unlock larger portfolios of investment grade assets, allowing greater investment in the sector that would deliver further benefits to communities and to government, and would help the sector to become an ever more mainstream asset class. Although partnerships can provide an important injection of capital and expertise into the health system, due diligence must be given to maintain focused on the challenges that these health systems face in the future to ensure that the growth of partnerships results in improvements in the health status of the population.
- Infrastructure: Infrastructure has played an important role in Africa’s recent upturn and will continue to contribute to further economic growth.“The Health Sector in Africa faces many challenges. Even though Africa has close to 11% of the world’s population, it bears 24% of the global disease burden, but these challenges however present huge opportunities for the potential investor. Healthcare investment has been overlooked by many investors on the continent, but it is one of the fastest growing sectors in Africa. Primarily a rapid growing middle class with demand for better healthcare, as well growing education of healthcare needs and better healthcare governance is and would be a major driver for growing and improving Sub-Saharan Africa.
As the region’s health systems struggle to meet basic standards of care, many experts have come to believe that systemwide barriers to its delivery are preventing greater progress. A comprehensive approach is required to overcome these barriers.
A platform for synergy in a bid tackle this healthcare challenges and improve Sub-Saharan Africa has been provided in this year’s Real Estate Unite summit slated to hold on the 17th and 18th of October 2017 at the Landmark Center, Victoria Island, Lagos.
To register as an exhibitor, sponsor or delegate, CLICK HERE
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