The Health and Social Welfare minister, Omar Sey said India’s multinational pharmaceuticals and biotechnological companies have for decades revolutionised healthcare accessibility and affordability in Africa.
Delivering a power point presentation at the 2015 India-Africa Business forum as a side-line event of the summit, which concluded last Thursday, at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in India’s capital, New Delhi, Minister Sey affirmed that Africa as a resource rich continent has mutually benifitted from India’s economic presence.
The 1st India-Africa Forum Summit was held in April 2008 in New Delhi, with 14 countries attending it. The second summit was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with 15 African countries and India participating. But the Modi-led government decided to invite all 54 African heads of government, instead of a representative number of countries chosen by the African Union, as was the norm, to give the message that Africa matters.
The vice president and minister of Women’s Affairs, Aja Dr IsatouNjie-Saidy represented the Gambian leader, Sheikh Professor Alhaji,DrYahyaJammehBabili Mansa at the Summit, accompanied by a high-powered delegation of ministers and permanent secretaries.
Minister Sey told the forum that it is always essential to link Africa’s public healthcare delivery system to Universal Health Coverage (UHC), saying this has led to all the Indian people having access to services and do not suffer financial hardships paying for them. “UHC is an effective strategy to achieve noble goals and has three dimensions. However, it requires priority settings when resources are limited,” he indicated.
He said several strategies can be used to provide and maintain affordable healthcare delivery in Africa, which include increased health financing system that guarantees financial risk protection.
Encouraging the citizenry to access health services with the promise that financial hardships will not be incurred, he noted that critical part of the health care delivery is the strengthening of PHC activities to ensure access to integrated health services across all priority health problems.
He pointed out that responsible and motivated health workers across the PHC villages with adequate diagnostic, as well as essential drugs for treatment, will require a robust and well-functioning referral system allowing integrated management of all health problems.
Public health, health education, vaccination, safe motherhood and basic primary care services, the Gambian minister went on, are most cost-effective to improve people’s health status, saying if essential drugs are made accessible and affordable to the people, these services can be delivered by health extension workers.
“As a result, Indian firms will continue to play an important role in Africa’s public healthcare delivery system as they manufacture affordable medications for our people,” Minister Seyemphasised