African leaders seek investment in healthcare

New Delhi, Oct 28 (IANS) In order to make healthcare affordable in Africa, leaders from the continent on Wednesday called for more investment by the Indian government and private investors in Africa.

During an interaction session on “Delivering Affordable Healthcare Solutions for Africa”, Gambia’s Health Minister Omar Sey stressed the need for an India-Africa framework on healthcare.

“The framework for affordable healthcare in Africa requires breath, scope and depth,” he said.

“Few things which are needed to ensure better healthcare facilities are universal health coverage, strengthening Primary health Centre (PHCs) activities, robust and well functioning of referral system, utilization of healthcare funds adequately, public health education, vaccination, basic primary healthcare services and availability of essential drugs,” he said.

“There is land available in Africa. We need to build hospitals. There is water available, we need to ensure giving proper drinking water to the people,” he added.

Hirut Zemen from the Ethiopian foreign ministry said: “Foreign investment in Ethiopia is the key to the betterment of healthcare facilities.

“We welcome foreign investment in various areas,” he said, seeking investment in general and super-speciality hospitals.

Among the Indian speakers were Naresh Trehan, chairman and managing director of Medanta – the Medicity and Anupam Sibal, the group medical director of Apollo hospitals.

“Among the few things needed to ensure delivering affordable healthcare solutions in Africa include development of PHCs, proper medical education for technicians and paramedics, and facilities and infrastructure to train more super-specialists,” said Trehan.

Sibal said: “About 20 percent of all medicines that are available in Africa are from India. Why can’t this be 50 percent?

Africa has shown us how to manage HIV, malnutrition and maternal health. India, on the other hand, has provided high-quality healthcare facilities at an affordable cost.

“Both sides can come together in ensuring affordability and accessibility of healthcare facilities to people.”

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