Africa urged to allocate more resources to health systems to ensure adequate coverage for the population
Senior Regional Programme Adviser of UNAIDS, Christoforos Mallouris this week urged African countries to allocate more financial resources to health systems to respond to pandemics and strengthen epidemic health systems.
“We see low public spending on healthcare, slow reforms inequitable healthcare financing policies that hinder progress towards achieving goals in healthcare, we also see the current healthcare financing mechanisms failing to handle epidemics and afford the right to healthcare for our people, there is a need to invest in epidemics,” he said at an event in Windhoek.
Despite progress Africa has made in universal health coverage, there is still insufficient spending as more than 67% of Africa’s population does not have health coverage, he said, adding that some countries only invest 5% of their Gross Domestic Product in health while 39% of that budget is spent on medical products.
According to Mallouris, there is also limited finances for human resources in the sector as 31 countries have a doctor-to-patient ratio of about one to 10,000 with 14% of the budget allocated to the workforce.
He further added that pandemics such as HIV/Aids, malaria, and COVID-19 have also increased the need for investments in health services.
“Financing for the health sector should be done with other cross-cutting health sectors. African countries need to continue advocating for international health funding for the continent to reach its health targets of provision of essential medication, ensuring universal immunization against major infections and diseases, and providing access to information related to health to all Africans,” he concluded.