By Zayamu Hassan
The partnership entered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the European Investment Bank (EIB) has resulted a commitment to make available €500 million to support health system strengthening and more specifically, primary healthcare in sub-Sahara African countries.
The partnership which is in close cooperation with the European Commission (EC) and the African Union (AU) is aimed at mobilizing €1 billion of investment to support countries in closing the health funding gap, building resilient health systems based on a solid foundation of Primary Health Care (PHC), to help them reach the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
That means restoring, expanding and sustaining access to essential health services and increasing financial risk protection; access to vaccines, medicines, diagnostics, devices and other health products; scaling innovative primary health care service delivery models and investing in a health workforce to deliver effective quality care.
A statement obtained by this newspaper revealed that this will be advanced by a powerful EC, EIB and WHO trilateral alliance built on the partners’ commitment to complement each other’s strengths.
The shared goals of the partnership will be achieved by applying a country-led and country-driven approach, identifying gaps in national health systems, designing strategies for interventions and their corresponding investments plans, investing in health system projects and programmes, convening capital providers, supporting implementation and monitoring impact.
The statement quoted the Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful demonstration that when health is at risk, everything is at risk. Investing in health across Africa is therefore essential not just to promote and protect health, but also as a foundation for lifting people out of poverty and driving inclusive economic growth.
“WHO is pleased to join forces with African partners, the European Investment Bank and the EU to marry this significant investment with WHO’s experience and know-how to build resilient health systems, and a healthier, safer, fairer future for Africa”
On his part, the President of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, said: “The partnership between the EIB and WHO is central to our response to the pandemic outside the EU, as part of Team Europe.
“Since the start of the pandemic the EIB has scaled up support for health investment, vaccine production and economic resilience across Africa and around the world.
“Today, we are pleased to confirm that the EIB will make available €500 million with the aim of mobilizing €1 billion of new investment to strengthen public health across Africa.”