The difficulties of medical services in Nigeria are many, however a couple of them stick out and affect the healthcare system. They include inadequate financing, management and human resource setbacks, insufficient medications, absence of adequate medical professionals, poor treatment of patients and infrastructure and poor hygiene. Poor health facilities and subpar infrastructure is the order of a typical day in many African countries; not to mention that because over 400 million people on the continent are living below the poverty line, many are subjected to public hospitals battling with water and electricity insufficiency, and decrepit hospital structures. A May Survey Report by Reuters also found that there is less than 1 intensive care bed per 100,000 people across Africa, while an April, 2020 report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) concluded that healthcare systems across the continent are undersourced.
According to the WHO’s Global Workforce Statistics (2017), the average physician density in Sub-Saharan Africa stands at two doctors per 1,000 people. This comes as no surprise since trained healthcare professionals in Africa are continuously emigrating daily to America and Europe for better pay, more humane working conditions and an overall standard quality of life.
Additionally, the pandemic ushered in the urgent need for testing kits, ventilators, quarantine centers, and more medical supplies. Despite the government’s efforts at sourcing as much as they could, these equipment are still insufficient for a vast majority of medical personnel and patients. Various high-ranking health workers have speculated that Nigeria, a country with over 200 million people, barely has up to 500 ventilators. Insufficient funds even after yearly budgeting has relegated healthcare expenses to the backseat in the face of more significant expenses.
There is therefore an urgent need for the government to re-strategize and invest in the healthcare sector as a means for improving the sustainability and transformation of our economies through development of standard healthcare systems and facilities. Although since the past decade there have been considerable improvements – in the mortality rate and an increased life expectancy, much more advancements can still be made. Africa still needs to offer standard quality of healthcare to the world. Investing in the healthcare sector should not be seen as a cost, but rather as a vehicle for driving economic growth and moving globalization of the African health space.
“Good health is at the centre of our vision of a more sustainable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous future. It is both an outcome and driver of progress.” said UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, at the 2019 Global Fund. Whilst finance may be a major constraint to the progress of our health systems, it is imperative that countries facilitate funding by identifying and accessing private financial investors to complement government funding. This private sector engagement further contributes to bridging the health-infrastructure gap, employment creation, and economic diversification. With a higher mortality rate and more able-bodied, healthy citizens, more sustainable development goals (SDGs) are likely to be achieved through the domino effect of healthcare investment.
Impact Investment is a major investment tool used to attract private sector engagement in healthcare. impact investments can target various complementary facets of the health ecosystem, including physical infrastructure, financial solutions, emergency response, and drug, vaccine and diagnostic development. Direct investments into individual companies allow for targeted opportunities; fund investments enable portfolio diversification to balance risk and return. “By combining social impact and the expectation of financial returns in a way that is mutually reinforcing, impact investing represents a tremendous opportunity for Universal Health Coverage a reality.” says Ken Gustaven of World Economic Forum. Impact investment has attracted a wide variety of investors, some of which include fund managers, private foundations, NGOs, and diversified financial institutions. This new revolution driving healthcare investment is more than capable of making affordable, standard healthcare available to all Africans
The treatment of COVID-19 patients gave residents a sample of what general wellbeing inclusion is, regarding cost of care;a circumstance where there is no installment of client charges at the time of care. Right now, medical coverage inclusion on the continent is extremely low, particularly for the rural area. After this pandemic, endeavors at moving the rural areas through the different state medical coverage plans ought to be strengthened and substitute methodologies such as subsidizing through tax assessment ought to likewise be investigated so as to decrease the weight of installment at the purpose of care.
The current pandemic has also shown the focal significance of wellbeing in our public life — without it, we don’t have anything. It has likewise indicated how we can do things any other way as respects to financing medical services in Africa. Taking opportunity of this chance to handle a portion of the difficulties of wellbeing financing will check the start of the positive change of Africa’s medical services records and usher in a time of expanded efficiency in the continent.
“Beyond the current pandemic, African governments should bring the right to health front and center in their policies and programs to improve people’s lives,” said Carine KanezaNantulya, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “They should engage African human rights institutions like the ACHPR as key partners to fulfill their obligations under the African Charter. “African governments ought to desperately deliver medical services insufficiencies to satisfy the needs of the Covid-19 pandemic and continuous medical care needs of their populaces. They should act to guarantee everybody’s entitlement to wellbeing is in accordance with global common freedoms law, remembering the African Charter for Human and Peoples’ Rights.