Resilience and sustainability key to strengthening health systems in Africa
Last month saw the continent’s healthcare industry leaders and influencers gather virtually at the 10th Annual Africa Health Congress, the largest conference of its kind in Africa. With discussions spanning the full array of issues facing health sectors in the region ie governance, medical technology, public health and many more, the congress provided a platform for the sharing of knowledge, with a view towards escalating the imperatives of Universal Health Care (UHC) on the continent. Close to 4 000 professionals attend key discussions, presentations and interviews, in which industry leaders shared strategies to shape the future of medicine and analysed the latest innovations and disruptors driving digital transformation in the region’s healthcare sector.
“We are delighted to see the number of new partnerships that have been forged and believe these new connections and collaborations will give rise to initiatives that will strengthen the resilience of health systems and promote growth in Africa,” said Cynthia Makarutse-NyandoroSenior conference producer.
Event highlights included the ninth Quality Management and Patient Safety Conference, which was chaired by Jacqui Stewart, CEO of The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa, in which healthcare industry leaders discussed COVID resiliency, as well as strategies and interventions to bridge the quality improvement gap at the frontline in Africa.
The specialist speakers also reviewed recent updates in healthcare quality and safety standards and accreditations and shared insights around new regulations.
At the Sustainability in Healthcare Conference track, experts delved into the appropriate healthcare system reforms for the African context, as well as the challenges and solutions to achieving healthcare equality throughout the region.
Dr Nicholas Crisp, acting director general of South Africa’s National Department of Health, believes that the COVID pandemic is driving policy changes that will enable technical innovations that go beyond information and communication technologies (ICT) and will span a range of technologies and ultimately strengthen the health system.
He remarked on the importance of good planning and governance in the public health sector for a resilient health system, and the need for high-impact, economically viable projects.
“Technology may provide answers but we first need connectivity, as well as flexible care rules, and an enabling policy and regulatory framework”, he said,
Crisp also touched on the continent’s rapid pace of urbanisation and how it has affected public healthcare challenges.
Of resource challenges and health care worker shortfalls, he said, “In countries like South Africa the primary challenge is about shifting and sharing resources, because there is significant inequality that currently panders largely to a privileged minority. More is not always better. The challenge is to use what is available more efficiently.”
Source: Africa Health