Coronavirus – Africa: A case for accelerated health integration in Africa

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.
Download logo

“Healthcare cooperation is key to achieving aspiration 1 and goal 1 of Africa’s Agenda 2063 as well as SDG 3 on ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all.” This is according to a communiqué issued at the end of a virtual meeting on the regional impacts of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar, which took place on 13 May 2020 was convened by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in collaboration with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to explore possibilities and opportunities foraccelerated health integration in Africa. 

The communiqué noted that “some level of health integration is happening on the continent as evidenced in the establishment of many regional and cooperative health initiatives,” such as the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030), the Africa CDC, the African Medicines Agency, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa, among others. 

It stated, however, that the “poor synchronisation and coordination of these initiatives,” could be blamed for Africa’s “impaired effectiveness” in responding to earlier and ongoing disease outbreaks such as the 2014-2016 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) that claimed about 11,310 lives, and the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was chaired by ECA’s director for regional integration and trade, Stephen Karingi, with participants from seven RECS (AMU, ECCAS, ECOWAS, COMESA, IGAD, SADC, and SACU) as well as ECA staff from Addis Ababa and the five Subregional Offices (SROs).

The webinar served as a platform for participants to discuss the findings of some analytical work done by ECA SROs and headquarter Divisions on the impact of  COVID-19 on RECs and their member states.

As of 12 May 2020, there were 69,451 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 2395 deaths and 23,973 recoveries in Africa. Amidst fear and projections that COVID-19 rates might worsen in Africa, the meeting expressed concern over the relatively low levels of health spending on the continent (5.6 percent of GDP compared to a world average of 9.9 percent), limited hospital bed capacity, low access to household hand-washing facilities, and a heavy dependency on imports for pharmaceutical products.

The RECs also shared their respective contributions to the COVID-19 response and proposed ideas to enhancing health integration and overall regional integration amidst the crisis.They underscored, for example, that keeping borders open to allow critical supplies (pharmaceuticals, PPE, and food) to flow between countries was crucial. 

The communiqué noted that leveraging on the AfCFTA framework to coordinate the development of regional medical hubs, along with the harmonisation of healthcare regulations, will allow Africa to become more self-sufficient for its growing healthcare needs.

Way Forward

The meeting proposed :

Establishment of more laboratories, including mobile testing stations, at regional and national levels in order to improve the testing of the infection Development of local production capabilities to reduce import dependency on PPE and pharmaceutical products Enhancement of regional cooperation/coordination for health integration in managing both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 Strengthening the capacity of the RECs for early warning systems, including in the area of health, to respond effectively to both the current COVID-19 pandemic and others future  ECA was urged to make the convening of such experience sharing forum between RECs a regular feature of its work, throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Click here for a full copy of the communiqué 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Related Content

Rwanda leverages on technology in the fight against COVID-19

Rwanda Biomedical Centre has established a new Covid-19 testing laboratory in Rubavu district with capacity of running 400 Covid-19 samples per day to help contain the pandemic in the area. This is the second testing lab established in Western Province after Rusizi District with capacity of running 500 samples per day. CNBC Africa's Fiona Muthoni had a conversation with Dr. Nsanzimana Sabin, Director General of RBC.

ARC rolls out disaster insurance for Zimbabwe & Madagascar

Lesley Ndlovu, CEO of the ARC joins CNBC Africa for more.

West African consumer sentiment drops sharply as COVID-19 crisis deepens

Global data analytics company; Nielsen, says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp drop in consumer sentiment in West Africa in the second quarter of the year. Ged Nooy, Managing Director at Nielsen Nigeria joins CNBC Africa for more.

AfDB forecasts Africa’s growth in 2021

Updated forecasts from the African Development Bank show that Africa’s growth is expected to rebound to 3 per cent by 2021 from a 3.4 per cent contraction in 2020 in the worst-case-scenario. Hanan Morsy, Director for Macroeconomic Forecasting and Research at the AfDB joins CNBC Africa for more.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC AFRICA delivered to your inbox

More from CNBC Africa

Does the Competition Competition have capacity to clamp down on COVID-19 profiteering?

As South Africa sees a surge in COVID-19 infections, consumers are increasingly faced with overpriced products on the shelves. The Competition Commission continues to receive complaints, from customers who are already feeling the pinch. The question is, does the Competition Competition have the capacity to clamp down on price gouging? Joining CNBC Africa for this discussion is Makgale Mohlala, Head of Cartels at the Competition Commission and Shawn van der Meulen, Partner at Webber Wentzel.

Uganda’s central bank may cap commercial bank interest rates

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda’s central Bank (BoU) has threatened to cap the interest that commercial banks can charge borrowers, after the industry...

Jambojet set to resume domestic flights on July 15

Jambojet gears up for local flight resumption; lower oil imports and higher tea exports spell current account improvement and the Central Bank invites bids for millions in treasury bonds. Journalist, Joseph Bonyo joins CNBC Afric for more.

Chamber launches business clinics to support women-led businesses

Rwanda’s women entrepreneurs arm under the private sector federation body has launched a series of business clinics with the aim of supporting women-led businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. CNBC Africa spoke to Agnes Samputu, Executive Director of the Rwanda Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs for more.

Partner Content

Maktech’s Godwin Makyao: Now Is A Time of Entrepreneurial Opportunity in East Africa

As an executive decision-maker in both the telecommunications and tourism industries, Godwin Makyao could not have experienced a more diverse set of...

Sanlam launches urgent job-preservation initiative in response to COVID-19

Sanlam Investments is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through large-scale support of the recovery of South African companies, from small enterprises to...

Trending Now

Africa urged to test more as coronavirus cases exceed 500,000

The African Union Commission said on Thursday it had launched a consortium for vaccine clinical trials to be headed by the Africa CDC, which aimed to secure more than 10 late stage vaccine clinical trials as early as possible.

Malawi’s new female cabinet ministers vow to push for jobs for women

Women now hold 39% of the ministerial and deputy minister roles in the cabinet appointed by Chakwera, 65, who unseated Peter Mutharika in a re-run presidential election last month, which compared to about 20% in the previous government.

Dow, S&P 500 end lower on fears over surging virus cases but Nasdaq hits record high

he Nasdaq hit another record high, however, helped by gains in Amazon.com (AMZN.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

Eskom goes after contractors over R4bn Kusile over-payment

One of the power stations that were meant to be the saviour of South Africa’s power supply is causing controversy, even before it’s in full working order. In an explosive letter, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan named contractors that he says Eskom over-paid by R4 billion, in the construction of Kusile power station. Sikonathi Mantshantsha, National Spokesperson of Eskom joins CNBC Africa for more
- Advertisement -