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Explore new healthcare financing, Advocates urges African leaders

By Asma’u Ahmad

Sub-Saharan African countries should explore innovative financing for primary healthcare in the light of declining support from overseas donors, advocates said at a forum in Nairobi, Kenya.

The advocates and policymakers said domestic resources would cushion the health sector in Africa from paralysis occasioned by major cutbacks from bilateral and multilateral donors.

Group CEO of Nairobi-based Amref Health Africa, Githinji Gitahi, said policy and regulatory incentives were an imperative to encourage local private sector to invest in healthcare as donor support shrunk tremendously.

Mr Gitahi

Mr. Githinji Gitahi

“Donor funding for health sector in Africa has been declining hence the need to pay attention to domestic financing models and prevent a crisis,” Gitahi said.

Traditional donors including rich nations and multilateral lenders have either terminated or shrunk their financial support toward critical healthcare programmes in Africa.

Early this week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced major cutbacks on overseas funding for family planning services in line with his policy of disentangling Washington from multilateral affairs.

Mr. Gitahi downplayed the negative impacts of withdrawal of American financial support toward healthcare in Africa saying the continent’s growing economies will mitigate against a crisis.

“Currently, overall donor funding toward health sector in Africa stands at less than 20 per cent. This support is expected to decline further but rapid economic growth will be our fall-back,” he added.

He added that tax rebates will encourage local private sector to invest in healthcare infrastructure and personnel to enhance African countries’ response to infectious and lifestyle diseases.

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