Elumelu Bemoans Poor Healthcare Budget, Infrastructure in Africa

•Reveals how TEF supported 700 healthcare entrepreneurs

Kayode Tokede

The Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, yesterday, stressed that Africa as a continent was behind with limited budgets and poor healthcare infrastructure, stressing that poor health outcomes affect everyone.

Elumelu, who was invited by his friend, Badr Jafar, participated in the agenda-setting opener for the Abu Dhabi Global Healthcare Week in United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He stated that healthcare issues were becoming more severe due to climate change, adding that 40 per cent health care facilities in Africa do not have reliable power supply.

Elumelu, during the panel session pointed out that the quality of healthcare in the world’s poorest countries could have an impact on the richest countries as the world is interconnected, and climate change is making transmission happen faster.

Specifically, he mentioned the Covid-19 case that started in China and quickly spread to all parts of the world, calling on stakeholders to be interested in global health equity and not just national health because poor health outcomes affect everyone everywhere.

Offering solutions, he called on private and public sectors and the development world to prioritise appropriate capital allocation and investments in innovation (health research and health technology / IT) to drive global improvements in health outcomes.

He disclosed that his foundation, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) had funded 700 healthcare entrepreneurs, with a gender distribution ratio of 49per cent male to 51per cent female, which he said was just a tip of the iceberg.

“These entrepreneurs have gone on to help communities and even their countries in advancing health care delivery in Africa,” he said.

He stated further that, “It is not just early-stage entrepreneurs and companies that make a difference. Big pharma also has a role to play here.

“To ensure a sustainable health future for all, there is need to review the current patent system and effect reforms while still incentivising innovation.

“There also needs to be incentives for big pharma to partner on R&D for diseases from lower income countries.

“Incentives for investing in R&D and manufacturing facilities for big pharma in developing countries are also important — so leveraging the global trade system is also an important element of global health equality.

“Even beyond pharma, the same steps should be taken to open up access to medical devices research and manufacturing, health care business model innovation, and so on.”

On energy deficit and healthcare delivery, he challenged stakeholders in the private and public sector to work innovatively across social sectors to achieve results.

“The global renewable energy sector, both thermal and hydro energy sectors should step in to address this massive energy deficiency in Africa to realise health outcomes in Africa,” he said.

On climate change and healthcare delivery, he noted that, “With private sector innovation, startup funding from foundations and financial institutions, health care policies from national and global health systems, investments from all as well as cross sector collaboration, we can definitely move humanity forward.”

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