A robust and profitable private sector is important to help the African continent have strong health systems, medical sector players said.
They made the observation on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 during the session âOur Common Health: Delivering Equitable Healthcareâ, which was held at the CHOGM2022 Business Forum in Kigali.
âWe need to create cost-effective health care providers in MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized health care enterprises) in every community who can provide relevant care for their community and earn money doing this so that can pay the staff they employ. said Gregory Rockson, CEO of Mpharma, a company that deals with fixing Africa’s drug supply.
At the event, it was stated that lack of good salary or income is the major factor that has led to medical brain drain in Africa â a situation where doctors or healthcare providers leave the continent to other parts of the world in search of greener pastures. .
“One of the biggest problems we are facing today is the number of doctors, health workers who are migrating from the continent to the West. And I don’t blame them for doing that. I would like a good pay; I wish I could take care of my family,â Rockson said.
“And, unless we can really start creating profitability, and when we create health programs that really underpin sustainability, I think 20 years from now we’ll come back and talk about systems strengthening like that. health in Africa, and we’re going to talk about donors and humanitarian aid,” he said.
âPhilanthropy is great, but I believe the future of health systems has been built on the backs of profitable health MSMEs.â
Underscoring the need to build strong health systems in Africa, Professor Fisseha, Director of Global Programs at the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, said that âwhat we have seen with COVID are the global mechanisms that we have put in place. place thinking they will focus on equity, they will protect marginalized communities, they were going to be inclusive, we clearly failed.
âSo with COVID, all of this global solidarity was now on the doorstep, and nationalism took place, and everyone was scrambling for vaccines and Africa was left on its own,â she said. .
She indicated that when a country has good governance, leadership and a national plan, it can put in place a mechanism that really builds a strong primary health care system.
“I’m all for global solidarity, but I’m also very skeptical that we can come together and talk about global solidarity without building the capacity of locals and nationals and frankly building a robust private sector that can alleviate some burdens,â she said. .
âGovernments cannot pay the wages of labour, and that is why they migrate. So having a robust tech-based private sector [is necessary]â, she noted.
However, she said a functioning government is essential for a thriving private sector, indicating that governments can create the right environment, the right policies and the right infrastructure for businesses to thrive.
The Need for Vaccine Equity
While vaccine manufacturing in Africa is currently nascent, demand is expected to more than double in volume over the next decade, rising from around 1 billion doses currently to over 2.7 billion doses in 2040, according to data. Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
In value, excluding future demand for Covid-19 vaccines and most other new vaccines to be developed, the public vaccine market in Africa is expected to reach around $3-6 billion by 2040, he said.
Currently, he added, local African manufacturing supplies around 1% of total continental demand, and manufacturers are only clustered in five countries (South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal). Remaining offer [of more than 90 percent] depends on global suppliers, including large multinational corporations (Merck, Sanofi, Pfizer and GSK) or large developing country vaccine manufacturers (DCVM).
Speaking of innovating for vaccine equity, Holm Keller, executive chairman of the kENUP Foundation, said the groundbreaking construction of an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility by German biotech company BioNTech in Rwanda, is scheduled to take place on Thursday, June 23, 2023. in Kigali.
The kENUP Foundation is a global, nonprofit, public benefit foundation that supports research-based innovation in the broader health industries for the benefit of society.
Keller said they expected the first vaccine made there would be for malaria.
“So I’m hoping for something that can help eradicate [of malaria]as a preventive malaria vaccine for young children and adults,â he said.
âSo tomorrow is a very big day not only for Africa, but also for the whole world. This is a substantial contribution to overcoming access to vaccines that can only be overcome if we look at demand and are locally satisfied,â he said.
Localizing vaccine manufacturing could reduce reliance on foreign aid and supplies, mitigate risks of supply chain disruption and priority access to vaccines, and generate economic impact substantial through job creation, increased investment and increased intracontinental trade, according to Africa CDC.