17 February 2012

The future of African healthcare

New research predicting the future of African healthcare in 2022 to be launched at Economist Conferences’ Healthcare in Africa summit.


New research predicting the future of African healthcare in 2022 to be launched at Economist Conferences’ Healthcare in Africa summit.

Scenarios depicting the future of African healthcare will be launched at the Healthcare in Africa summit, organised by Economist Conferences in Cape Town next month. Taking place at the Westin Hotel on March 6th – 7th, the summit — entitled ‘Healthcare in Africa: future approaches to funding, partnerships and access’ — will bring together the key players in African healthcare, including health ministers and policymakers from across the continent, to share and debate their ideas, plans and initiatives.

The new research from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), commissioned by the pharmaceutical company Janssen, will focus on five possible future scenarios for African healthcare systems over the next ten years. Thirty four leading healthcare experts, representing the entire chain of stakeholders across the sector, helped the EIU’s expert analysts identify the key trends shaping African healthcare systems and these were then used to develop scenarios that depict the possible health landscape on the continent in 2022.

Examining the possible ramifications of existing health policies and approaches, the thought-provoking scenarios explore the potential outcomes and consequences of decisions being taken by governments, healthcare providers, donor organisations and investors today.

Global burden

The research and scenarios are expected to be welcomed by experts and stakeholders who remain keenly aware that sub-Saharan Africa constitutes 11% of the world’s population, but accounts for 24% of the global disease burden.

“Most players in the healthcare sector are used to arguing their own corners,” observes Delia Meth-Cohn, the EIU’s Editorial Director for Continental Europe, the Middle East and Africa and chair of the summit, highlighting one of the common impediments to achieving consensus and meaningful change. “The scenarios we have created, however, will provide a policy-neutral set of platforms upon which some degree of agreement can be reached about the future direction of African healthcare.”

The conference itself, on March 6th and 7th will focus on two burning issues in healthcare across Africa: the role of the private sector in healthcare and the challenges regarding the rapid spread of chronic diseases across the continent, which could overtake communicable diseases as the most common cause of death in Africa by 2030. By then, more people are likely to have diabetes than currently have HIV. “People are finally becoming aware of the growing burden of chronic disease, just as significant progress has been made in fighting the old killers,” notes Meth-Cohn.

Recent success in the battle against infectious and communicable diseases is one of the many positive developments that will be reported on and assessed at the summit. “In the past decade, Africa has made enormous progress in the fight against HIV/Aids and malaria,” confirms Sir Richard Feachem, Director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, and formerly Founding Executive Director of the Global Fund and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. “We will discuss at the conference the audacious goal of malaria elimination in southern Africa and the huge opportunity provided by new scientific evidence on mass testing and treatment for HIV/Aids.”

Other discussions that will take place

As well as reporting on these positives and future scenarios for African healthcare systems, the key speakers at the summit will discuss and debate a range of critical topics and questions, including the following:

  • What is the right balance of private and public healthcare for Africa?
  • What are the best practices for affordable medicine in Africa?
  • What can be learnt from other emerging countries?
  • How can healthcare systems best meet the demands of both infectious and chronic diseases?
  • What are the best investments for public health infrastructure?

The line-up of high-calibre key speakers includes: Joseph M. Kasonde, Minister of Health, Zambia; Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Health, Ethiopia; Malebona Precious Matsoso, Director General, National Department of Health, South Africa; Kgosi Letlape, President, African Medical Association; Luis Gomes Sambo, Regional Director, Africa, World Health Organisation; Norman Mabasa, Chairman, South African Medical Association; Olive Shisana, CEO, South African Human Sciences Research Council and a host of other influential international and local healthcare stakeholders..

“The future of healthcare is one of the most pressing global issues of our time,” says JJ van Dongen, Vice President and Market Leader, Philips Africa. “Only through continued dialogue and collaboration can we build good healthcare solutions that will improve patient care and keep healthcare costs under control.”

Delegates attending the Healthcare in Africa summit will be able to hear and question these expert stakeholders and policymakers as they outline their thinking and plans for the future, and many of the speakers will be available for media interviews as well.

“So much is changing for healthcare in Africa at the moment,” concludes Meth-Cohn. “Governments are starting to introduce universal health schemes and new private sector players now see opportunities across Africa. But a lot needs to come together to really improve healthcare outcomes. That’s what this conference is about: bringing all the players together to ensure resources are used in the best way possible.”

The Healthcare in Africa summit is organised by Economist Conferences and sponsored by Janssen, Philips Healthcare, KPMG, Africa Health Placements, Discovery, BD and ENS.

The Future of Healthcare report is produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Janssen.

For further information regarding the event, visit:

(Bespoke Strategic Communications, Press release, February 2012)


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