Africa urged to explore new healthcare financing as overseas donation declines

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

NAIROBI (Xinhua) Sub-Saharan Africa should explore innovative financing for primary healthcare in the light of declining support from overseas donors, advocates said at a forum in Nairobi on Friday. The advocates and policymakers said domestic resources will cushion the health sector in Africa from paralysis occasioned by major cutbacks from bilateral and multilateral donors.

Githinji Gitahi, Group CEO of Nairobi-based Amref Health Africa, said policy and regulatory incentives are an imperative to encourage local private sector to invest in healthcare as donor support shrink tremendously.

“Donor funding for health sector in Africa has been declining hence the need to pay attention to domestic financing models and prevent a crisis,” Gitahi said. Traditional donors including rich nations and multilateral lenders have either terminated or shrunk their financial support towards critical healthcare programs in Africa.

Early this week, the United States President Donald Trump announced major cutbacks on overseas funding for family planning services in line with his policy of disentangling Washington from multilateral affairs. Gitahi downplayed the negative impacts of withdrawal of American financial support toward healthcare in Africa saying the continent’s growing economies will mitigate against a crisis.

“Currently, overall donor funding towards health sector in Africa stands at less than 20 percent. This support is expected to decline further but rapid economic growth will be our fall-back,” Gitahi told reporters. He added that tax rebates will encourage local private sector to invest in healthcare infrastructure and personnel to enhance African countries’ response to infectious and lifestyle diseases.

Source: Coast Week (link opens in a new window)

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