ETHIOPIA – Aliko Dangote Foundation, GBCHealth, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) have launched a joint venture health platform, the African Business Coalition for Health (ABC Health), in a move to boost health care services in the continent.

The platform was launched in Ethiopia during the 32nd African Union Summit which had brought together heads of governments and business community leaders across Africa.

ABC Health is aimed at bringing together Africa’s key decision makers in exploring opportunities for propelling the continent’s economic growth through business partnerships and investments in the health sector.

The initiative which also aims to curb basic health challenges, has received remarkable endorsement form heads of government and other stake holders who expressed their commitment in transforming the basic health care services.

Speaking during the launch of the initiative, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation, said that the health forum provides an opportunity to identify challenges and solutions facing the African health sector.

He further highlighted that essential health services are a key driver towards realising the economic growth and development in Africa.

“Governments from both developed and developing countries are increasingly looking at public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a way to expand access to higher-quality health services by leveraging capital, managerial capacity, and know-how from the private sector.

Africa’s healthcare systems demand significant investments to meet the needs of their growing populations, changing patterns of diseases and the internationally-agreed development goals,” he added.

Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the Co-Chair of the GBCHealth, appealed for more support towards strengthening the health status in Africa as stipulated in Sustainable Development Goal number 3 by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Imoukhuede highlighted insufficiency of resources as a major challenge facing the sector and therefore called for a collaborative approach between governments and private investors towards addressing the challenge

“Our continent accounts for less than 2% of global health even though our very fertile people account for 16% of global population and carry 26% of the global disease burden.

The private sector and the public sector working together as partners have the potential to change Africa’s healthcare from doom and gloom to progress and results.

Africa’s private sector has great capacity to be relevant partners.

Vera Songwe Executive Secretary UNECA, added that the initiative presents a veritable perspective from the private sector to the solutions to Africa’s health care problems.

“To the private sector, our leaders are expecting you to invest in healthcare because you will get higher returns than you can get anywhere else,” she said.

Vera revealed that Africa spends about US$17.3 billion in importation of medicinal drugs despite the continent’s potential to manufacture the drugs which would significantly contribute to economic developments Heads of state from Djibouti, Ethiopia and Botswana also hailed the initiative.