AfDB launches strategy on health infrastructure

October 22, 2021

BUSINESS REPORTER

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched a consultation process with health ministers and other partners as it develops a strategy to drive enhanced access to health services across Africa through 2030.

Input from ministers in the bank’s 54 regional member countries, development partners and civil society is expected to strengthen the institution’s Strategy for Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa (2021-2030).

A robust scoping study titled “Good Health and Well-being” underpins the strategy.

Beth Dunford , AfDB’s vice president Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said the consultations are crucial to ensure the delivery of an ‘efficient, impactful and sustainable strategy’.

“The global Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on lives and livelihoods strongly justifies the bank’s renewed investments in Africa’s health infrastructure and efforts to strengthen its health systems resilience,” Dunford said.

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed serious gaps in African national health systems and overwhelmed capacity to test for and treat the disease.

Health infrastructure is unevenly distributed, and often of poor quality. Only half of the primary health care facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have access to clean water and adequate sanitation.

The strategy focuses on areas that match the bank’s comparative advantage, including health infrastructure and building in flexibility to respond to the needs of regional member countries.

Particular focus areas are primary health care infrastructure for under-served populations, with supporting infrastructure investment to ensure that facilities are connected to water and sanitation, energy, transport and communications services; diagnostic infrastructure, utilising a range of delivery models, including public-private collaborations; and connectivity for innovative health solutions, to expand information and communications technology links and facilitate innovations in health service delivery, the bank said.

AfDB’s investments in health infrastructure will be packaged with knowledge work, policy dialogue and technical assistance, and in partnership with other health sector actors.

This support will focus on effective health financing strategies, including the expansion of health insurance to ensure low-income household access and that investments are used effectively and sustainably, it said.

Martha Phiri, AfDB’s director for Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, said poor health undermines Africa’s economic productivity.

“The continent’s health infrastructure needs are too big to be met by any one, single player. I welcome stakeholder inputs as the Bank formulates a pipeline of operations in support of building stronger African health systems,” Phiri said.

The Strategy has been developed in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Invited stakeholders will have until  November 5 to take part in the AfDB’s Quality Health Infrastructure in Africa strategy consultation process.

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