A PANEL of experts meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, have agreed that the private sector and African governments should accelerate healthcare investment and provide special treatment to reduce red tape on medical services.
Various experts from the African continent, including World Health Organisation, UNAids, NEPAD, and AU Business Council, were speaking on Saturday during the two-day pre-Kigali conference aimed at sharing best practices and lessons learnt from private sector engagement in health and health financing.
The main conference is set to take place in February next year in Kigali, Rwanda, where over 300 guests from all over the continent will focus on how to “Sustain the HIV response through financing and investing in health systems for improved health security on the continent”.
Executive Chair of the African Health Business, Dr Amit Thakker, said the continent needed to produce knowledge and solutions in the digital healthcare sector where other countries outside Africa can import the services.
“All we need to do is invest in the technology and infrastructure of our continent. It is important that we remove all stereotypes and promote Africa in a positive light in energising the initiatives taken by UNAids and NEPAD.
“Africa should use the next ten years as a decade of implementation. When speaking of investing in the healthcare industry in Africa, we must not use words such as profit because society would think that we are only concerned about profit.
“Plundering must be separated from profits. We are speaking about capacity building and making sure that facilities are able to produce enough for the continent, and that we are able to compete on the global stage,” said Thakker.
Mauritius representative from the health ministry, Hema Bhunjun-Kassee, indicated that the island nation was committed to investing in their healthcare and that they depended on private sector to support their initiatives.
“We are a small island nation depending heavily on tourism, we rely on other partners to attract resources and we are confident that all this is achievable.
“We must promote medical tourism and accept that there are great competitors such as India but we must acknowledge we can contribute to skincare and other products that are important for our society.”
The pre-conference recommendations are expected to be tabled and implemented in the Kigali conference next year.