Health is a fundamental issue dear to my heart and I think organizations should use the most innovative methods involving everyone.
All hands have to be on deck to provide adequate health services in Africa. It will take collaboration between the private sector, government, civil society institutions and individuals to achieve results.
In my region – Africa – many governments have struggled with providing major health services. To assist, the private sector will have to ramp up while more civil society institutions are needed to support the work of the private sector. Civil society organizations will need to become more efficient, effective and trustworthy providers of healthcare to Africans.
The African private sector has joined in the fight to safeguard the health of this generation and the next. What about the generations beyond these? To safeguard their health we should be fighting today for sustainable solutions to the three big pandemics. For HIV, we must work hard to get to zero new infections.
The three big killers in my region are HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, closely followed by childhood diseases, perinatal deaths and trauma from accidents. However, non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer have increased in prevalence with the growth of a more sophisticated middle class and the influx of fast food.
For future generations in my region to reach higher life expectancy, African governments will need to make the necessary financial sacrifices and commitments to health, and enforce policies in support of health. From the private sector, funding and improved health services are needed. Civil society will have to actively engage in healthcare management and delivery while individuals will have to take responsibility for their own health and acquire knowledge necessary to prevent diseases.
It is my hope that African leaders and their families will put such emphasis on health that they will sooner opt for healthcare provided locally rather than going out of the country.
In summary, the health of future African generations can rest on the strength of the partnership between government, civil society, the private sector and individuals.
Author: Dr. Akudo Anyanwu Ikemba is Founder and CEO of Friends Africa, a Pan-African non-profit organization that fights AIDS, TB and Malaria. She holds a Doctorate degree in medicine from Tufts University, a Masters degree in International Public Health from Harvard University and a bachelors in Molecular Biology from Lehigh University. She is passionate about solving Africa’s public health challenges and has received numerous awards for her works in this area. She was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012.
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