Africa must protect against future pandemics through investment in healthcare

African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina called for the establishment of an African Financial Stability Mechanism to help the continent withstand future economic shocks such as the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AfDB | Abidjan | Updated: 03-03-2021 11:27 IST | Created: 03-03-2021 11:27 IST
Africa must protect against future pandemics through investment in healthcare
“We need to build back better, bolder and bigger, and embrace a new public health order for our continent,” Nkengasong said.  Image Credit: Twitter(@SAgovnews)

Africa must protect itself against future pandemics and other shocks through higher investment in primary healthcare and increased local manufacturing of key medical products, panellists at the Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development urged on Monday.

Egypt hosted the virtual, second edition of the meeting, titled Shaping Africa's New Normal: Recovering Stronger, Rebuilding Better'.

A significant part of the discussion centred on providing access to COVID-19 vaccinations and to healthcare more generally.

This is not the first pandemic and it is not going to be the last," said Egypt's Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Hala El-Said, who appealed for vaccine equity and the establishment of research and diagnostic centres that focus on pandemics in Africa. She also invited the private sector to play a greater role in investing in the healthcare of Africans.

Investments in healthcare must be a priority, said World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "A healthy population is a secure, resilient and prosperous population," the WHO chief said. "As we work together to respond, recover, and rebuild, we must see health as an investment to be nurtured- an investment that delivers for each and everyone."

African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina called for the establishment of an African Financial Stability Mechanism to help the continent withstand future economic shocks such as the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As we go into the African Continental Free Trade Area, we cannot afford this kind of shocks that could pull our economies down, because that is an economy of $3.8 trillion," Dr Adesina said.

"It is time for us to develop and put in place an African Financial Stability Mechanism that will ensure that Africa does not reel from side to side when situations like this happen," Adesina added.

The African Development Bank President cited as a model the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism created by the European Commission to provide financial assistance to EU countries experiencing or threatened by serious financial difficulties. "We were looking for $154 billion for Africa last year. We couldn't even get it," he said.

Speakers agreed that in the near term, securing vaccine equity—access to an adequate and affordable supply of vaccines against COVID-19—would be critical.

The Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), John Nkengasong, urged Africans to use vaccine supplies effectively. "Unless, and until we vaccinate at least 60% of our population, we remain a continent of COVID-19 going forward, with serious economic and health implications. We must do everything to meet our vaccination targets," he said.

It was agreed that another lesson of the pandemic is that African countries need to promote the domestic manufacture of diagnostic equipment, vaccines and other medicines.

"We need to build back better, bolder and bigger, and embrace a new public health order for our continent," Nkengasong said.

The Aswan Forum, an annual event that receives support from the African Development Bank and other international and regional organizations, promotes an agenda to address the peace, security and development challenges that Africa faces. The forum runs from the 1st to the 5th of March.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Tracking Fintech during COVID-19: Harnessing power of technology

Its abundantly clear now that as fintech cements its place in the financial sector, accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, it could open the sector to new possibilities by harnessing the power of technology to deliver financial ...

Tectonic turns: How technology shaped healthcare over the decades

Tracing an episodic evolution, with technology at the interface of human and his health....

World Water Day sees crises of inequality in countries both rich and poor

... ...

Privacy and data protection: Reviewing notable policy frameworks

The evolved privacy principles and the resulting legislation across the world primarily aim to force the data collector to define the purpose for which the data is being collected along with the need to obtain explicit consent for the said ...

Videos

Latest News

France to extend gap between mRNA vaccine shots, minister says

France will lengthen the period between the first and second shots of mRNA anti-COVID vaccines to six weeks from four weeks as of April 14 to accelerate the inoculation campaign, Health Minister Olivier Veran told the JDD newspaper on Sunda...

France extends gap between mRNA vaccine shots to ramp-up rollout

France will lengthen the period between the first and second shots of mRNA anti-COVID vaccines to six weeks from four weeks as of April 14 to accelerate the inoculation campaign, Health Minister Olivier Veran told the JDD newspaper on Sunda...

Brazil records 2,616 COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, more than 71,000 cases

Brazil on Saturday recorded 2,616 new COVID-19 deaths and 71,832 new coronavirus cases, the Health Ministry said.Brazil, which has become the latest epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with the second-highest death toll after the United ...

France to extend gap between mRNA vaccine shots, minister says

France will lengthen the period between the first and second shots of mRNA anti-COVID vaccines to six weeks from four weeks as of April 14 to accelerate the inoculation campaign, Health Minister Olivier Veran told the JDD newspaper on Sunda...

Give Feedback