Wednesday, September 15, 2010

African public health and lack of financing

Africa will need huge increases in funding to meet the Millennium Development Goals for health. However, the increases needed are more than many government budgets can bear, over 40 percent in some cases.

From the Inter Press Service, writer Susan Anyangu-Amu examines this problem.

Dr Thomas Kibua says even if every African states were to increase allocation to the health sector to 15 percent, none of the three health-related millennium development goals will be achieved.

"States would have to increase allocation to health care to 45 percent if they are to achieve MDGs by 2015. This is untenable because that is almost the entire national budget going towards health," he says.

Kibua directs health policy and systems research at the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) a development organisation that seeks to improve people’s access to health care.

According to the African Public Health Alliance (APHA) and 15 Percent Campaign, African countries will have to go beyond the previously-agreed percentage to health to meet international guidelines.

"Countries will have to increase their health spending per person to reach the World Health Organization-recommended $40," says Rotimi Sankore of APHA, a non-profit organisation promoting health development and financing across Africa.

And even this may not be enough: the WHO’s recommendation assumes basic levels of nutrition, and access to clean water and sanitation. "For this to be worthwhile, governments will have to make separate investments in other sectors within the economy such as human resource and infrastructure," says Sankore.

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