Friday, July 1 2022

The achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) in Africa is in jeopardy due to disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and inadequate funding, according to a new report.

According to the State of UHC in Africa report, only 48% of the continent’s population, or approximately 615 million people, have been able to access quality health services.

This is when countries grapple with the negative impacts of the pandemic, including revenue losses.

The report was launched in Nairobi on the sidelines of the 2021 Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC), which is taking place virtually between March 8-10.

“The COVID-9 pandemic has exposed glaring gaps in African and global health systems and made the case for the urgent achievement of UHC,” said Githinji Gitahi, CEO of Amref Health Africa, based in Nairobi.

The report should serve as a wake-up call to governments, donors and industry to channel additional resources to the health-for-all agenda, he said.

“Through the State of UHC in Africa report, we hope to provide a realistic roadmap that will guide African countries on their journey towards UHC.

“The roadmap will also intensify greater multi-stakeholder collaboration across the continent so that we can move from rhetoric to sustained action,” Mr. Gitahi said.

A 19-member AHAIC commission compiled the report to take stock of the continent’s progress towards achieving health for all goals.

Colonial legacy, outdated policies, low technology adoption, poverty and rising disease burden are derailing efforts to ensure all African citizens have access to quality health services, according to The report.

He said only 49% of African women and girls had access to modern contraceptives in 2015-2019.

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He underscored that political reforms, political goodwill, innovations and strong investments are needed to accelerate progress towards achieving health for all goals on the continent.

“Health strengthening efforts in response to COVID-19 present an opportunity for African countries to make comprehensive investments in health that will strengthen the foundations for UHC,” the report says.

Africa can take advantage of the demographic dividend, the creation of a continental free trade area and a large pool of skilled labor to revamp health systems, he said.

(NOPE)

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