Turning Africa’s Healthcare Challenges Into Opportunities
Monday, March 10, 2014
In 2008, I took a month-long tour of rural clinics across three states in Nigeria, which really opened for me a small window into some of the realities of healthcare provision in the country. The dilapidated structures and lack of critical supplies showed a real failure of government stewardship. Similarly, in some of the privately run clinical centres, a lack of investment also contributed to their ineffectiveness in delivering quality care to the indigent population. Unfortunately Nigeria is not alone, as this scene is replicated across Sub-Saharan Africa in varying degrees of severity.
Most people are familiar with the problems facing the health sector in Sub-Saharan Africa faces: poor infrastructure, a shortage of healthcare workers, a lack of capacity in the existing workforce and substandard quality to name a few. These problems, coupled with inadequate public sector spending on health, have pushed the private sector to the front in the development of the African health sector.
The climate for private sector health investment in Africa has never been better, with Sub-Saharan African countries re- cording an unbroken pattern of economic growth in the past few years. Ironically, the challenges created by a lack of adequate infrastructure, human capacity and poor-quality healthcare have given rise to favourable conditions for the redesign of healthcare delivery models in the African context.